Wiccan ex-barista sues Starbucks over religion

A former Starbucks barista in Hillsboro has sued the coffee giant, saying it discriminated against her based on her Wiccan religion.

In a complaint filed Jan. 8 in U.S. District Court in Portland, Alicia Hedum said a manager at Starbucks’ Hillsboro Landing cafe asked her to remove her Wiccan cross several times, even though other employees, including the manager, wore Christian crosses.

Hedum accused Starbucks of retaliating by refusing to promote or transfer her, reducing her hours and scrutinizing her “minor tardiness.”

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A Starbucks spokesman said she was unaware of the lawsuit.

Wicca, a nature-based religion often described as a form of witchcraft, has been the subject of other employment discrimination cases. A Wiccan member of the Industrial Workers of the World union complained last year to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that a New York City Starbucks discriminated against her based on religion.

Hedum worked for Starbucks in Cornelius and Hillsboro from March 2004 until her Aug. 29, 2005, dismissal. Hedum’s suit also accused the retailer of retaliation, wrongful discharge and workers’ compensation discrimination.

Hedum’s attorney, Craig Crispin, did not make her available for comment.

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