starbucks employee making drinks caption ' deciding to take an LOA from work to work on my mental health' (l) gta meme in midde of man making funny face caption '.......actually' (c) Text messages saying 'Hi Denise. I hope all is well. I just got an email saying your personal leave was declined and for me to reach out to schedule your return. When are you able to come back to work?' (r)


‘So damn toxic’: Starbucks denies mental health leave of absence for worker in viral TikTok. Manager begins texting her

'It gets so busy to the point where you can’t even get a break.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Mar 22, 2022   Updated on Apr 6, 2022, 3:16 pm CDT

Another Starbucks TikToker has gone viral after sharing their quitting story. User Denise (@denisestephaniee) made waves on the platform after posting a video showing that, after a manager had denied her a mental health leave, she decided to quit.

Denise’s video currently has over 423,000 views.

“Decided to take a [leave of absence] from work to work on my mental health,” Denise writes at the beginning of the video. She then gets a text message from someone at her work saying her leave was “denied” before asking when she can return to work. After some contemplation, she responds by quitting.

Many TikTokers commended Denise, noting that if a company didn’t seem to care about her, it probably wasn’t worth her time.

“If they didn’t let you take a leave of absence they didn’t care about you and [were] gonna work you to death,” wrote one user. “I’m saying this from my own experience.”

Some alleged former Starbucks employees joined the conversation to tell their quitting stories.

“I don’t regret quitting Starbucks. It was so damn toxic,” wrote a TikToker. “I was getting bullied from adults as a damn teenager while pregnant.”

“Quitting Starbucks was the best thing for me during a time when my mental health was in shambles,” said another. “Take care of yourself.”

Many also directed their anger toward the firm Sedgwick, used by companies like Starbucks and Walmart to manage and schedule employees.

While some claimed that only managers can approve or disapprove of requested time off, others shared stories that pinned Sedgwick as the villain.

“FCKIN SEDGWICK I SWEAR,” said one user. “I had a family emergency & got my absence APPROVED & then two days after returning to work they denied it & i bout got fired.”

“I do gotta say. Ofc Sedgwick is involved. They always do SOMETHING,” said another.

“Dealing with Sedgwick makes any job just that much less worth it,” agreed a further TikToker.

In a follow-up video, Denise shared details from her time on the job.

“They honestly just overwork the shit out of you,” she says in the video. She also alleges that understaffing was an issue, causing her to frequently work through breaks.

“It gets so busy to the point where you can’t even get a break,” she explains. “My manager would be like, ‘I can’t run breaks. Like, we don’t have people.’”

In comments, other alleged former Starbucks employees agreed with her assessment.

“Everything u just said sums up literally my reasoning for wanting to leave,” wrote a user. “It’s so mentally and physically exhausting.”

“I used to work at Starbucks and I can confirm this,” shared another.

Starbucks announced last year that it’d offer its staffers 20 therapy sessions per year and also offers access to mental health app, Headspace. Starbucks announced during the 2020 pandemic that workers can take up to 120 days of unpaid leave while receiving benefits, according to Business Insider. Its official language these days is more case-by-case when it comes to leaves of absence: “Starbucks offers a variety of leaves of absence if you are ill or injured, or need to care for an eligible family member. Additionally, Military Leave, Personal Leave, and Career Coffee Break (sabbatical) may be available. Eligibility varies by leave type.”

Denise did not immediately respond to Daily Dot’s request for comment via TikTok comment. Starbucks did not immediately respond to Daily Dot’s request for comment via email.

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*First Published: Mar 22, 2022, 9:25 am CDT