Shannon Phillips’ termination was in 2018 after video of police officers escorting 2 black men from a store went viral
Starbucks was ordered to pay $25.6 million in damages to a former manager who said she was fired because she was white. The information is from the newspaper New York Times.
Shannon Phillips, a regional manager for dozens of the chain’s coffee shops, was fired in 2018 after an incident at a Philadelphia store.
Rashon Nelson, a black man who was with his partner (also black) in the store but not drinking, was banned from using the restroom. Shortly after, Starbucks staff called the police. The agents handcuffed Nelson and his partner, Donte Robinson, and escorted them out of the cafeteria.
The approach was filmed and shared on social media, causing protests. Watch (55s):
After the episode, the coffee chain trained its employees not to practice any type of discrimination in customer service and fired Phillips.
The store manager, however, who is black, was retained in his position. In 2019, the former employee sued Starbucks, claiming that race was a determining factor in her dismissal. According to her lawyers, Phillips was “‘a scapegoat’ to show that action was being taken”.
On Monday (June 12, 2023), a federal grand jury in New Jersey agreed with Phillips’ defense. The coffee chain was accused of violating civil rights under federal law and a state law that punishes discrimination based on race. The former employee will receive $25.6 million in compensation.
Until the publication of this text, Starbucks had not commented on the decision. The space remains open for demonstration.