Former Starbucks Manager Files Discrimination Suit After Firing
Shannon Phillips managed various Starbucks locations in four different states over the course of 13 years, but after being fired, she’s filed a lawsuit against the coffee chain. According to reports from The Daily Beast, the white former employee is claiming that she was the victim of racial discrimination when she was terminated in wake of the wrongful arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store last year.
“Weeks after the arrests and surrounding media coverage, [Starbucks] took steps to punish white employees who had not been involved in the arrests, but who work in and around the city of Philadelphia, in an effort to convince the community that it had properly responded to the incident,” the lawsuit states.
The suit is referencing the highly publicized incident from April 2018, where Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson ended up being cuffed and escorted out by police officers for sitting inside the Starbucks as they waited on a work associate to arrive. At the time, the company responded by re-evaluating how their employees deal with customers supported by company-wide racial bias training.
Now, Phillips alleges that Starbucks was internally targeting its white employees–including her–after the mishap. According to the suit, said “discrimination” allegedly started about a month after the arrests, when Phillips was forced to suspend a “white employee (who had not had any involvement in the arrests)” for “an allegation of discriminatory conduct” which she says wasn’t true.
Phillips was allegedly told in a meeting with her supervisors that the manager she was tasked with suspending had been paying non-white employees less than those who are white–but she disputed the claim, stating that store managers cannot determine salaries. Phillips ended up being fired the next day because “the situation [was] not recoverable,” claiming that the excuse was a “pre-text for race discrimination.”
Shannon Phillips is seeking compensatory and punitive damages over the “embarrassment, humiliation, loss of self-esteem, mental anguish, and loss of life’s pleasures.”
As for Starbucks, the company has denied these claims.