Since many of you expressed concern and dismay over Starbuck’s discriminatory job application form, I felt obliged to ask Starbucks to explain why they have illegal questions in their application forms. So, I sent a quick note:
I use your application form in my employment law classes as an example of how companies violate the Ontario Human Rights Code in their job recruitment practices. Two questions in particular seem problematic: the question about the name and address of an applicant’s schools, and the question about whether applicants are available to work overtime. My students are concerned about these questions, and would like to know whether Starbucks thinks they are lawful, and if so, whether it believes an applicant’s answers to the questions are a relevant consideration in hiring decisions. We look forward to your response.
Professor David Doorey, York University
I received a response from our friends at Starbucks:
Thanks for your interest in Starbucks Coffee Company. Unfortunately, due to the volume of student requests we receive, we’re unable to grant interview or survey requests or provide information about the company beyond what we make publicly available.
For more information about Starbucks, including our most recent annual reports, visit our website at www.starbucks.com/aboutus. There you will find the Corporate Social Responsibility annual report, our latest press releases, SEC filings, and general company information. For industry information such as market share, please visit the Specialty Coffee Association website at www.scaa.org. ..
Thanks again for your interest in Starbucks Coffee Company, and good luck with your project.
Apparently, Starbucks thought I was a student, and therefore had no time for my questions about human rights violations in their application forms. I replied as follows:
Thank you for that boilerplate response Jonathan M. Unfortunately, it is your publicly available information that is violating human rights laws. However, I will be sure to pass along your thoughtful response to the students.