In 2019, Shannon Phillips filed a civil complaint, citing ‘her race was a determinative factor’ in the company terminating her employment.
IN THE AFTERMATH of the 2018 backlash against US coffee-house chain Starbucks, former employee Shannon Phillips claimed she was unfairly fired because she was white.
The 2018 incident involved two Black men who were arrested – Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson – while waiting at their local Philadelphia Starbucks for a business meeting.
The racial profiling of a Starbucks employee who called 911, claiming the men were trespassing, set off a nation-wide protest in the US, prompting Starbucks to close some of their stores.
Because of the widespread outcry, Phillips said she was notified of her termination, despite claiming that she wasn’t at the store that day and was not involved in the arrests in any way, ABC News reported.
Phillips had been employed as a regional director for the chain for 13 years. In 2019, she filed a civil complaint, citing “her race was a determinative factor” in the company terminating her employment.
She argued that as a regional operations director, she had nothing to do with the arrests of the men at the store, and was fired less than a month later for refusing to place a white district manager at another store on leave over claims of racism in pay that Phillips said she knew to be untrue, reported the Philadelphia Enquirer.
Now, four years later, a federal judge has ordered Starbucks to not only pay Phillips $25.6-million (awarded in June this year) in a wrongful termination suit, but also an extra $2.7-million (about R52-million) in damages.
In a memo obtained by ABC News, Starbucks argued that Phillips “has failed to present any evidence that she could not earn the same (or perhaps even more) in the future and has similarly presented no evidence, beyond her speculation, as to what benefits she may have received had she remained at Starbucks.”