Starbucks has been ordered by a jury to pay over $25 million in damages to a former regional manager they fired for being white as a sacrificial offering to the Black Lives Matter movement.
From The New York Times, "White Starbucks Manager Fired Amid Furor Over Racism Wins $25 Million":
In April 2018, two Black men entered a Starbucks shop in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia for a business meeting with a white man who had not yet arrived. While they waited, and before ordering, one of the two asked to use the bathroom. He was refused. Eventually, they were asked to leave. When they did not, an employee called the police.Starbucks employees said they were forced to watch "video after video" of white cops attacking blacks as part of said "racial bias" training.
The subsequent arrests, captured in videos viewed millions of times online, prompted accusations of racism, protests and boycott threats. The company's chief executive apologized publicly, describing the way the men had been treated as "reprehensible." Starbucks took the extraordinary step of temporarily closing 8,000 stores to teach workers about racial bias.
On Monday, in a surprising twist, a federal jury in New Jersey ordered Starbucks to pay $25.6 million to a former regional manager after determining that the company had fired her amid the fallout from the Rittenhouse Square episode because she was white.Justice is served!
The jury found that Starbucks had violated the federal civil rights of the former manager, Shannon Phillips, as well as a New Jersey law that prohibits discrimination based on race, awarding her $600,000 in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.
Laura Carlin Mattiacci, a lawyer for Ms. Phillips, said she and her client were "very pleased" with the unanimous verdict, adding that "she proved by ‘clear and convincing evidence' that punitive damages were warranted" under the New Jersey law.
[...] Ms. Phillips said in the suit that Starbucks, as part of its damage-control effort after the arrests, had sought to punish her and other white employees in and around Philadelphia even if they had not been involved in the events that led to the police being called.
Ms. Phillips said she had thrown herself into the company's efforts to restore its credibility and had sought to support hourly workers, organizing managers to staff stores and cover for employees who were scared to run a gantlet of protesters.
Amid the image-burnishing campaign, Ms. Phillips said one of her superiors, a Black woman, told her to suspend a white manager who oversaw stores in Philadelphia, though not the one in Rittenhouse Square, because of allegations that he had engaged in discriminatory conduct — allegations that Ms. Phillips said she knew to be untrue.
In contrast, Ms. Phillips said, no action was taken against the manager who oversaw the Rittenhouse Square store, a Black man who Ms. Phillips said had promoted the employee who called the police.
Ms. Phillips said she was fired not long after balking at the order to suspend the white manager. She said that she had not been previously told that she was doing a bad job and that the only explanation she was given for the firing was that "the situation is not recoverable."
Starbucks denied in court filings that Ms. Phillips had been fired because she was white and said she was let go because she performed poorly in response to the episode that led to the arrests.
"During this time of crisis," a lawyer for Starbucks wrote in a court filing, the company's "Philadelphia market needed a leader who could perform," adding that "Ms. Phillips failed in every aspect of that role."
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