Starbucks lost a lawsuit in which it would have to pay $25.6 million to a former manager who was fired because of her skin color.
The former Starbucks regional manager, Shannon Phillips, was fired after a 2018 incident at one of the company’s Rittenhouse Square stores in Philadelphia.
At the time of the incident, two young African-American men waited for an acquaintance for a business meeting at Starbucks.
Trouble began when one of the young men in his early 20s denied access to the restroom because he had not made a purchase at the establishment.
Later, the waiter asked the two men if they wanted anything, but upon refusal, the Starbucks staff called the police, and the officers handcuffed and removed the two men.
The arrest was captured on a video and went viral on social networks and media outlets.
The event sparked protests; later, the company had to close all its stores to provide training to its employees to avoid racist behavior.
While the regional manager at the time, Shannon Phillips was fired from her job, in contrast to the Rittenhouse Square cafeteria manager, who was African-American and was able to keep his job.
Phillips filed a lawsuit in 2019 against Starbucks, where she alleged that she was fired as a result of racial discrimination based on her skin color.
The woman’s attorneys noted that Starbucks executives blamed Phillips for the event to show that they were taking action following the incident.
After reviewing the case, a jury in Camden, N.J., agreed with Phillips’ claims and awarded her $600,000 in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages, according to a CBS News report.
The jury also found that Starbucks violated the federal civil rights of women and New Jersey law prohibiting racial discrimination.