The famous coffee franchise, Starbucks and its former employee, Shannon Phillips, have, yet again, caught the attention of the United States due to racial discrimination issues. Philips, who had been the supervisor of store managers in Philadelphia, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland for 13 years, was fired for “being white,” according to the Washington Post.
The event Phillips sued her former employer over goes back to 2018. As stated by the lawsuit, one of the branch managers at that time called the police to arrest two young African American men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson. The men were arrested while waiting for a business meeting to start, after one of the Philadelphia branch employees called 911 because they refused to make a purchase or leave the store, in this instance Phillips was never part nor contacted the police for the arrest. As a result of the incident, protests began and Starbucks was demanded the firing of the employee in charge of the store.
The coffee company publicly apologized and provisionally closed about 8,000 of their stores as a consequence of the situation. Following the incident, Phillips hired a new team in the Philadelphia store, but refused to fire the white employee who called the authorities to remove the African American men. Eventually, the woman was forced to concede her superior’s orders, and was also fired shortly after the incident. The woman’s dismissal occurred after the incident involving the two men, in addition to other African American managers who affirmed they were paid less than white managers.
Five years after the situation took place, the Federal Court in New Jersey affirmed that Starbucks violated the woman’s civil rights, as well as a law that prohibits racial discrimination in the state of New Jersey. The jury ordered the coffee chain to compensate its former employee with 25 million dollars for punitive damages, and $600,000 for compensatory damages.