SUBSCRIBE: Newsletter

Human Resources



Family demands Starbucks pay for funeral of bipolar employee who killed himself

Power a future-proof HR by driving intelligent business solutions and talent analytics. Learn how to at Accelerate HR 2020 with more than 120 HR peers.
Download the conference brochure and pre-order your tickets today.

The family of a mentally ill Starbucks employee who committed suicide has written to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asking the company to pay for his funeral.

Darren Bez, who suffered from bipolar disorder, killed himself after being terminated from Starbucks in New York, in 2013.

Bez had served for 10 years at the coffee giant before being fired for “not wearing an apron and having his cellphone exposed”. reported his sister Dawn Bez wrote to Starbucks that the sacking led to a deterioration of his mental health, which resulted in him taking his life in June this year at the age of 45.

“It is truly wonderful that a company hires and trains those with disabilities… [but it comes with] a great responsibility… I believe Starbucks failed my brother. Those employed in… management need to be taught, trained and informed about those with disabilities,” she wrote in the letter to Schultz.

Schultz responded to the family in August, expressing profound sadness, and saying: “I am haunted by your words that Starbucks failed Darren”.

He also asked for the family’s permission to share their story at a talk on disabled employees at the Starbucks headquarters.

However, the family said that words aren’t enough. They want funds to pay for Darren’s funeral, and for a bench where his mother can sit when visiting his grave.

A Starbucks spokesman said the firm offers “deepest condolences for their loss” and is “very saddened to learn from the family about Darren’s passing”.

It added: “Darren is remembered by his former colleagues as someone who was more than a co-worker, but also a friend. We have been speaking directly with the family and we offer our deepest condolences for their loss”.

ALSO READ: Starbucks CEO urges staff to be more ‘sensitive’ to anxious customers

Image: Shutterstock

HR Masterclass Series: High-level HR strategy training workshops
with topics ranging from Analytics, to HR Business Partnering, Coaching, Leadership, Agile Talent and more.
Review the 2020 masterclasses here »

Read More News

in All markets by

4 tips for getting a raise

No matter how much or how little you’re being paid at work, there comes a time for everyone when they feel it’s not enough...


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.