Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Lawsuit against Starbucks goes up in smoke


STARBUCKS/Uh, dude, you forgot something.

That was essentially the message from a California appeals court to a group of unsuccessful Starbucks applicants who sued the Seattle-based coffee chain over its job application, which they claimed asked an illegal question about marijuana convictions.

California law bars employers from asking job applicants to disclose marijuana convictions that are more than two years old, and Starbucks’ application asks for seven years’ worth of criminal history.

The spurned baristas contended they and the 135,000 others who didn’t make the cut were entitled to $200 each for filling out the tainted application.  Citing potential damages that could run as high as $26 million, the company tried and failed to have the case thrown out, then appealed.

While criticizing Starbucks for placing a disclaimer describing the California law on the back of its NETHERLANDSapplication in tiny type, the appeals court nevertheless made a critical finding that killed the case — none of the plaintiffs had marijuana-related convictions and two had never even smoked pot.

Check Out Line: Mattel Wins Round 1 in Doll Brawl


braatz1.jpgCheck out the fun and games at Mattel.
The maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars posted better-than expected quarterly earnings Friday.
But the real boon for the company was its victory over Bratz doll maker MGA Entertainment in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
A federal jury found that Carter Bryant, who created the popular Bratz dolls had come up with the characters and name while he was still under contract as a designer for Barbie at Mattel.
Mattel is seeking huge damages and an injunction to stop MGA from selling Bratz, the multi-ethnic, big-headed dolls that have cut into Barbie sales. MGA has argued that the dolls themselves were different than Carter’s drawings and were made by MGA designers … an issue that will be a big part of the damages phase of the trial.
So the two companies will keep fighting over their dolls.
Also in the basket:
Talk of change atop Carrefour (WWD, subscription required)
U.S. regulators lift tomato Salmonella warning 
(Reuters photo)