Starbucks Faces Lawsuit for Tacking On Charge for Nondairy Milk in Drinks

Three California residents, Maria Bollinger, Dawn Miller, and Shunda Smith, have filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, alleging that the company discriminated against customers with lactose allergies by charging them an extra fee for nondairy alternatives to its coffee-based drinks and other beverages. The complaint seeks restitution and monetary damages. The “excessively high” fee alleged in the suit involves a surcharge ranging from 50 cents to 80 cents on Starbucks beverages that contain nondairy, lactose-free options, such as soy, almond, coconut, oat, and other plant-based milks.

Lactose intolerance affects 30 to 50 million Americans and qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiffs claim that by charging extra for plant-based milks in their beverages, Starbucks violated their rights under the ADA and California Unruh Civil Rights Act.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the company can’t comment on pending litigation but noted that domestic customers do have nondairy options at no extra charge. In U.S. stores, customers can add up to four ounces of nondairy milk to hot or iced brewed coffee or tea, cold brew, and Americano beverages at no additional cost. Starbucks is not the only restaurant chain to come under fire for tacking on charges for plant-based milk.

Read More @ CBS

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