"The family of a local [Westchester County, NY] , mentally ill Starbucks employee[Darren Bez] who killed himself after the java giant fired him is upset over more than just the chain's red holiday cups. Although Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote the family a heartfelt letter about their loss, they also want him to pay for their loved one's funeral arrangements." - Mara Siegler, New York Post, November 26, 2015. Here is the article.
Darren Bez suffered from a bipolar condition. He had worked at Starbucks for 10 years. Then he was fired at the Ossining, NY store, reports the Post, "for not wearing an apron and having a cellphone exposed." After that, his family claims, he went into a downward spiral. In June of 2015, he took his own life. The family is represented by lawyer, Eric Baum.
Schultz had asked the family's permission to share Darren's story with former Rhode Island Senator Patrick Kennedy when he visited Starbucks' headquarters. Kennedy, himself disabled with bipolar illness, has been an advocate for the mentally ill. Schultz seems authentically distressed by this development.
Starbucks' response to this request from the family involves both legal and public relations issues. Eventually, the family could file an actual lawsuit.
Also, this kind of request could discourage other employers from hiring the disabled. The potential risk might seem too high.