Shannon Phillips claims that she and other white workers were discriminated against by Starbucks after the arrests of the two black men at a Philadelphia store last year
A white Starbucks regional manager overseeing the location where two black men were arrested last year, denounces the coffee chain and claims that after the trial she was fired for racial prejudice.
Shannon Phillips, from New Jersey, claims that she and other white workers were discriminated against by Starbucks after the controversial arrests of the two black men in a Philadelphia store in April 2018.
In the lawsuit that was filed on Monday, Phillips – who worked for Starbucks for 13 years – claims that she had nothing to do with the arrests, but was fired a month later.
Cell phone recordings of the arrests quickly became viral after it appeared that Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were being held in the Starbucks after they sat down without ordering.
The widely published arrests led to protests outside the store and led to the closure of more than 8,000 locations, allowing the company's 175,000 employees to attend training with racial prejudice.
Phillips said she & # 39; tirelessly & # 39; worked to help restore community relationships in the aftermath of the controversy, according to the lawsuit.
In her role as regional manager, Phillips said she supervised around 100 stores in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
She claims in the lawsuit that Starbucks began to punish white workers who had not been involved weeks later in an attempt to publicly prove that they were handling the incident.
Cell phone recordings of the arrests quickly became viral after it appeared that Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were being held in the Starbucks after they sat down without ordering
Nelson and Robinson, who were arrested and spent hours in jail, finally reached a settlement with Starbucks in the aftermath for an undisclosed amount and a free college education offer
Phillips claims that Starbucks ordered a white male manager, who had worked for the company for 15 years, to be on administrative leave because of an accusation of racial discrimination against him.
The allegation was based on complaints that non-white employees in that manager's shop were paid less than white employees.
Phillips said she argued that the male manager had no control over wages. The lawsuit also says that Phillips objected to suspending him because she said the manager was not racist and that she had never seen him show discriminatory behavior.
For comparison, she argued that the black manager of the store where the arrests were made did not undergo disciplinary action.
Phillips said the black manager's subordinate was the one who called 911 after the two men sat down and refused to leave after being told they could not use the bathroom without buying anything.
She claims that she was fired shortly thereafter and told that the & # 39; situation cannot be restored & # 39 ;.
Starbucks has rejected the claims in the court case and says it is willing to bring its case to court.
The many published arrests led to protests outside the store (above) and caused more than 8,000 locations to close, allowing the company's 175,000 employees to follow racial bias training
Protesters marching down Market Street in Philadelphia a week after the two black men were arrested at the Starbucks location
The two black men who were arrested and spent hours in jail eventually reached a settlement with Starbucks in the aftermath for an undisclosed amount and a free college education offer.
Separately, they reached a deal with the city for a symbolic $ 1 each and a promise by civil servants to set up a $ 200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.
& # 39; We've thought about it for a long time and think it's the best way to see the change we want to see, & # 39; said Robinson at the time.
& # 39; It is not right now for something that is right now, but I feel that we will see the real change over time. & # 39;
The men, both 23, said they were waiting at the Starbucks location for a meeting with a third man about a potential chance of real estate.
After their arrest, charges have never been filed against them.
The incident turned out to be a great shame for Starbucks, which has long projected an image as a socially aware company.
During the tumult, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson came to Philadelphia to apologize to the men.
He also announced that more than 8,000 Starbucks stores in the US would close on May 29, allowing nearly 175,000 employees to receive training in unconscious bias.
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