Toronto woman launches lawsuit against Starbucks, supervisor for alleged assault

TORONTO — A Toronto woman has launched a lawsuit against Starbucks alleging a supervisor assaulted and threatened her, and the company failed to protect her.

Shannon Mishimagi alleges in a statement of claim filed with Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice that her supervisor at a Starbucks in west-end Toronto, Gurjaspreet Jolly, physically assaulted her, threatened to use harmful substances against her and verbally abused her.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Jolly could not immediately be reached for comment.

Starbucks says it is taking the allegations seriously and is committed to providing a safe work environment.

Mishimagi says after the alleged assault took place on Oct. 31 of last year, she had to work alongside Jolly, who was only later transferred to a different location.

She alleges that if Starbucks had taken the proper steps to offer assistance and counselling, the effects of the alleged abuse would have been substantially reduced.

According to the statement of claim, Mishimagi filed a report to the company shortly after the incident occurred.

The statement alleges Starbucks was negligent by failing to follow its own internal policies, failing to properly investigate Jolly’s background and “failed to properly monitor the defendant Jolly after allegations of abuse were made by Mishimagi.” 

Mishimagi has suffered “physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering and a loss of enjoyment of life” and her life has been “fundamentally and forever changed” by the incident, according to the claim.  

“Starbucks has robust policies and procedures for investigating partner complaints, which we have employed in this matter,” Starbucks spokesperson Carly Suppa said in a statement.

“While personal matters are confidential, we are prepared to vigorously defend the reputation of our partners and our company in this case.”

According to the claim, Mishimagi has suffered depression, anxiety attacks and cannot work “due to emotional trauma.”

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press