A judge awarded Beth Eno $120,585 last October when Tully’s parent company failed to respond to her unlawful-termination lawsuit. So far, she has seen $34.08.
She wasn’t showing, but Tully’s store manager Beth Eno said she was several months’ pregnant in July 2016 when she decided to let her boss know.
“I notified my district manager, and she said, ‘No big deal,’ ” Eno recalled during an interview this month. “She said she was happy for me. But everything kind of went south from there.”
Within two weeks, Eno was out of a job.
Eno later filed an unlawful-termination lawsuit against Global Baristas, Tully’s parent company, claiming her firing amounted to illegal discrimination against a pregnant woman.
Most Read Local Stories
- See how many people are fully vaccinated against COVID in your King County neighborhood
- They relied on Chinese COVID vaccines. Now they’re battling outbreaks.
- With Seattle sizzling, here are 6 ways to sleep cooler in hot weather
- 'Heat dome' may push Western Washington temperatures into record-breaking territory
- A Seattle Times story called her a homeless meth user. She asked to be seen as more
Other than firing her shortly after she informed them that she was expecting, Tully’s officials “failed to provide a justification for Ms. Eno’s termination based on poor job performance or to further a legitimate business necessity,” the suit said.
And when Tully’s didn’t respond to Eno’s lawsuit, a judge awarded her a $120,585 default judgment against her former employer.
Seven months later, Eno has recovered a grand total of $34.08 — an amount that doesn’t come close to covering the $405 in legal paperwork costs to collect it.
Eno’s is among a list of judgments awarded in recent months to landlords, vendors and other Tully’s creditors who have allegedly been stiffed by the Seattle-based coffee chain, as it spiraled into financial trouble and shuttered its stores.
But amid the business’ turmoil, Michael Avenatti, who had been Tully’s principal owner for several years, separately has rocketed to fame as the crusading lawyer for a porn star taking on the president.
“It’s ironic, isn’t it,” Eno said of Avenatti. “He portrays himself as a defender of the disadvantaged when his company has taken full advantage of me.”
The last recourse for Eno and others with unsatisfied debts has been trying to garnish Tully’s bank accounts — what Eno’s lawyer describes as an exercise in frustration.
Avenatti “just keeps changing bank accounts and hiding whatever funds Tully’s may have left,” said Drew Davis, Eno’s attorney. “It’s been next to impossible to find where he’s keeping the money.”
In an email to The Seattle Times on Wednesday, Avenatti didn’t directly respond to Davis’ comments, but he denied owing Eno anything.
“This judgment is not my responsibility and never has been,” he wrote. “You would have to speak with the new ownership group.”
For months, Avenatti has publicly disputed to The Times that he still owns Global Baristas, but he won’t identify the company’s new owners.
During a deposition in July, Avenatti testified his Newport Beach, California-based law firm wholly owned Doppio, a Delaware corporation that he said controlled 80 percent of Global Baristas. As of February, Doppio still owned Tully’s parent company, according to records filed in a federal lawsuit against the coffee firm.
Avenatti’s business dealings in Washington have prompted an investigation by the California State Bar of an opposing lawyer’s complaint, including allegations that his coffee firm fleeced millions of dollars in state and federal tax withholdings from the paychecks of Tully’s employees. Avenatti has denied those allegations.
On Wednesday, he also denied Eno’s claims, saying her substandard work led to her firing.
“My understanding is that Ms. Eno was fired by the District Manager because she had a history of poor performance and was failing miserably in her job,” he wrote. “It of course had nothing to do with any pregnancy.”
But Eno, 37, a King County resident, points to a job history at Tully’s that proves otherwise.
In mid-2012, she was a single mother of four children when she landed a barista’s job at a Tully’s Bellevue store. She worked her way up to assistant store manager before earning a promotion to manage a Tully’s store in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood.
The new job brought more responsibilities: running the store’s day-to-day operations, hiring and developing employees and creating growth plans, she said.
“Things were going really good,” Eno said.
So well that by December 2015, Eno won another promotion — to manage an even bigger store on Seattle’s Alki Beach.
“I had more employees, more hours, more responsibilities,” she said.
And she continued to flourish, her lawsuit said, with Eno ranking as “the second highest performing store manager in the district, and the tenth highest performing store manager companywide.”
But all of that came to a halt in July 2016, Eno said, after she told her supervisor that she was expecting her fifth child at year’s end.
“I told them I had everything covered,” Eno said. “I wouldn’t need to take any time off right away.”
Within a few days, Eno said a “secret shopper” — an undercover performance evaluator posing as a customer — dropped into the Alki store. That review resulted in a high rating of 89 percent, Eno said.
Then, the next week, her supervisor came to the store to review Eno’s work.
“She was writing me up on a bunch nitpicky things,” Eno said. “It was like, ‘Oh, the (coffee) temperature is 2 degrees off.’ Just minor things that didn’t make sense.”
Her boss gave Eno an “F-grade,” she said, and then fired her.
About five months’ pregnant at the time, Eno was unemployed and uninsured. She took state unemployment assistance and signed up for Medicaid.
“It was a lot of stress for me,” she said. “There goes my family’s source of income. So, then I have to find a job — and that’s kind of hard, especially when I was pregnant and starting to show.”
Eno managed to get by with support from her boyfriend, borrowing money from relatives and racking up credit-card debt, she said.
Several months after giving birth to her daughter, Kimber, Eno found a job as a payroll clerk. In August, she sued Global Baristas.
Her suit identifies Eno’s supervisor by name, but she noted she never directly dealt with Avenatti.
When factoring in the $34 garnishment in February, the amount owed to Eno, with interest, has grown to more than $128,000, Davis said. That’s nearly as much as the $130,000 payment Donald Trump’s lawyer made to Avenatti’s client, Stormy Daniels, to allegedly keep their affair quiet.
If Eno ever gets paid, she said she would pay off more than $15,000 in debt she took on while unemployed for 10 months.
“I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I just want a little bit of justice,” Eno said.