Former Starbucks Manager Sues Company for Racial Discrimination

Former Starbucks Manager Sues Company for Racial Discrimination Over Viral Arrest of Two Black Men

The White regional manager of Starbucks that was terminated after two black men were arrested for waiting for someone to arrive at the Philadelphia location has filed a lawsuit for racial discrimination against the well-known coffee company.

According to Newsweek, Shannon Phillips filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. She believes that white employees, including herself, were made to take the fall for the incident that went viral last April. This brought international attention and a need for an immediate solution.

In the video that went viral, Dante Robinson and Rashon Nelson were both arrested after asking to use the bathroom without any purchase made at the moment. They were waiting for someone to meet them.

After the incident, more than 8,000 Starbucks stores were closed in the U.S. for 175,000 staff members to receive educational training on racial bias. This incident caused protests and boycotts against the international coffee company. Starbucks apologized to Nelson and Robinson. They were soon released after they were arrested.

Shannon Phillips worked at Starbucks for 13 years and was the Regional Manager that was responsible for stores in southern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, and parts of Maryland. In the suit, she said that Starbucks felt a need to “convince the community that it had properly responded to the incident,” according to the legal filing that was obtained by Newsweek. She also accused Starbucks of “taking steps to punish white employees who had not been involved in the arrests,” to save face.

Phillips said that she was ordered to place a white employee who had no involvement with the Nelson and Robinson’s arrest on administrative leave because of an allegation of discriminatory conduct that Starbucks allegedly knew was not true.

Phillips was terminated a little less than a month after the arrests occurred on May 9, 2018. Starbucks reportedly stated that “the situation is not recoverable” as the only reason for them terminating her. They also allegedly said that the reason is “pretext for race discrimination,” and as a result, Phillips has filed a suit.

Phillips wants punitive and compensatory damages because of “pain and suffering, emotional upset, mental anguish, humiliation, and loss of life’s pleasures” after she was fired.

However, a spokesperson for Starbucks told ABC News, “We deny the claims in the lawsuit and are fully prepared to present our case in court.”

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