Invasion of Privacy In Progress

A manager barista at a Starbucks in Queens, NY is fired for “snapping” at a customer. The reason is simple, the customer took a cookie straw for the drink without paying while she was waiting for her coffee. The customer then checked her phone on her app to supposedly pay it and then the barista snapped at Ruby Chen to get her attention. That’s when someone decided to record what happened later and posted on youtube. Subsequently, Chen received a $100.00 gift card while the manager got fired. End of Story.

That’s it?

What about the guy or girl behind the camera phone who record the incident? He or she had a lot to say to cause a customer to feel “entitled” and a manager to lose her job on the spot. Did he or she asked permission to post the video of the incident? Permission of anyone involved? One of the common rules of photography and video is to ask permission to take photos or video for personal or commercial use. With the proliferation of cameras in smartphones, people are becoming a bit of a bad amateur “reporters” recording or taking pictures of events affecting their space or their world around them. Sadly, videos like these make a negative mark on the outcome of events. Not only aren’t effective, but in some cases it’s inconclusive. The guy or girl behind the camera caused a hardworking woman losing her job and reputation and there’s no evidence of what caused the manager to snap at Ruby Chen.

By the way, taking a video without written permission from anyone involved and posted on youtbube constitutes invasion of privacy. He or she should be accountable for simply recording the argument between the employee and the customer for defamation. And for Starbucks for not investigating further into why the manager acted that way.

Like any other job, there’s various reasons for this manager to act that way. It could be from stress to dealing with unruly, obnoxious customers, to even dealing with thieves specially in a place such as Queens. Starbucks shouldn’t fire her because of a incomplete video that a person shot without her consent.

At least, to protect businesses and employees from entitled customers they should NOT allow smartphones in the premises or at least keep it off during their visits. Just like Hospitals do, to avoid confidentiality problems. I see a lot of videos of unruly customers and employees on youtube for bullying purposes without permission.

I hope this manager could sue the company for harassment, and the guy who took the video for invasion of privacy. It’s not easy to be infamous for 15 minutes and lose it all in a second. She have a solid case, with the right representation she can win.