In a decision that disappointed Starbucks, a jury ruled in favour of the chain’s former regional director, Shannon Phillips, who had accused Starbucks of firing her because she was White. In fact, Starbucks will be paying her $25.6 million in damages. That is, $25 million for punitive damages and $600,000 in compensatory damages.
It all started in 2018, when two Black men were asked to leave the coffee shop because they had been occupying a table for a long time without ordering anything. They had claimed to be waiting for a third person to arrive. One of them was not allowed to use the restroom being told that only customers who had paid or had ordered were allowed to use the restroom. Later, the duo was led out of the outlet by the police. Of course, following this controversial incident, which vent viral, there were agreements and settlements between the men and the chain as well as the city administration of Philadephia.
Starbucks then apparently went on to penalise the White employees who were working in and around the city of Philadelphia, in a bid to make the community believe that it had taken adequate steps post the incident, even though these White employees had nothing to do with the arrests. Phillips, who was also let go, filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for firing her because she was White.
However, Starbucks maintained that she was fired because her performance was not up to the mark and that she had failed to comprehend the seriousness of the situation.
Phillips of course draws attention to the fact that she had climbed up the corporate ladder over a period of six years, and that it was her performance and hard work that had made it possible for her to go from being a district manager in Ohio to a regional director handling 100 stores.