Barista denied leave
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

Barista Quits Starbucks After Being Denied Leave of Absence for Mental Health in Viral TikTok

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Mar. 23 2022, Published 10:28 a.m. ET

The concept of a "mental health break" is still fairly new in the corporate world. While there are many progressive companies that will certainly allow employees to take a leave of absence in order to address issues like chronic depression or to undergo therapy, or simply take a hiatus from the stresses and pressures of working their jobs, there are others who are not so understanding of their workers' plights.

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Of course, there are multiple reasons for this. Some could chalk it up to a general byproduct of laissez-faire capitalism where a sustained increase of profits matters more than the immediate health of one's employees.

Others could chalk it up to businesses simply not being up to speed enough in updating their corporate policies to reflect ever-evolving data of employee efficacy.

One Starbucks barista is making headlines after quitting her job due to corporate's decision to not approve her leave of absence. It went viral on TikTok and sparked quite the conversation.

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Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

TikToker @denisestephaniee (Denise) posted a video of her working at Starbucks with a text overlay that reads: "deciding to take an LOA from work to work on my mental health."

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barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

The clip then cuts to a text conversation between Denise and her manager where she was informed that Starbucks declined her request for a leave of absence. They then followed up asking when she was able to return to work.

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barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

The TikTok video then cuts in and out from several clips of CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in order to convey the emotions she was feeling during the process of deciding she would no longer work at Starbucks.

Denise oscillated between "toughing it out" and making money at the job she actually enjoyed, or taking a break for her mental health.

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barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

She then shows blurred-out screenshots from texts with someone else, presumably a friend asking if she should go back to working for the coffee chain. The individual on the other line responds simply: "no."

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barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

Denise then decides to message her manager, thanking them for the opportunity of working at Starbucks (even though she was conflicted about it) and that she valued her time there and all of the folks she worked with. She went on to state that a combination of personal factors lead her to exclude herself "from the working environment."

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barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

And while Denise worried about how she'd earn money after quitting her Starbucks job, she ultimately joked that the best way to get cash would be to just get it from "ur dad," implying that she'd get herself a sugar daddy.

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barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

Many TikTokers who commented on the video remarked that they experienced similar issues with Starbucks when they tried taking a leave of absence. And when you're dealing with a corporation as massive as Starbucks (and others) it isn't uncommon for many aspects of business operations to be conducted by other agencies/companies.

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From payroll, to insurance, to even claims for leaves of absences, there are tons of humans rights and staffing issues that are "farmed out" to external companies and in the case of Starbucks, the franchise used Sedgwick to handle employee scheduling.

barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee
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The company isn't exactly beloved, according to folks in the comments section. Some even went so far as to say that while they loved working at Starbucks, it was having to deal with Sedgwick that really rubbed them the wrong way.

Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee
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There were users on the platform that blamed Sedgwick for getting fired (their time off was approved for a family emergency then revoked and then they were let go). Others stated that they will not work for a company if they find out Sedgwick is handling HR and staffing queries/issues.

barista denied loa
Source: TikTok | @denisestephaniee

What do you think? Have you worked for Starbucks or a company that employs Sedgwick for handling HR issues and had a bad experience? What about the way Denise handled her exit from the location, or is that only for her to decide?

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