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Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett

16 Jun 2023

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Starbucks Ordered to Pay $25.6m in Racial Discrimination Case

A federal jury in New Jersey has ruled in favor of Shannon Phillips, a former manager at Starbucks, in a racial discrimination case. Phillips was fired from her position after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks branch in Philadelphia in 2018.

The jury concluded that race was a determining factor in her termination, resulting in a violation of anti-discrimination laws.

The jury’s verdict includes a substantial compensation amount for Phillips. She has awarded $600,000 in compensatory damages for the violation of her federal civil rights. Along with $25 million in punitive damages.

The compensation reflects the jury’s belief that Starbucks engaged in discriminatory practices and treated Phillips unfairly based on her race.

The incident in question occurred at a Starbucks branch in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square in 2018.

One of the two black men present was reportedly denied access to the restroom as he had not made a purchase.

The situation escalated when the individuals, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, refused to leave, leading to staff calling the police.

The men handcuffed and escorted out of the café, with their arrests captured on video. And shared widely, sparking protests and public outrage.

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Racial Discrimination Case: Allegations of Wrongful Termination and Bias

Racial Discrimination Case

Following her termination, Shannon Phillips filed a lawsuit against Starbucks in 2019, alleging wrongful termination.

And claiming that the company unfairly punished white employees, including herself, in response to the arrests.

Phillips’s legal team argued that Starbucks sought a “scapegoat” to demonstrate action taken. And also that upper management unfairly targeted white employees.

The racial discrimination case jury’s ruling holds Starbucks accountable for discriminatory practices and sends a message about the importance of addressing racial bias in the workplace.

The substantial compensation awarded to Phillips emphasizes the significance of combating racial discrimination and ensuring equal treatment of employees.

Starbucks now faces the challenge of responding to the verdict, assessing its legal options. And also addressing concerns about its commitment to diversity, equality, and fair treatment of all employees.

This racial discrimination case highlights the ongoing challenges faced by companies in addressing racial discrimination and bias in the workplace.

It serves as a reminder that no organization is immune to such issues and underscores the importance of fostering an inclusive work environment free from discrimination. Where employees of all backgrounds are treated equitably.

Starbucks Ordered to Pay $25.6m in Racial Discrimination Case