In a striking turn of events, a former Starbucks manager, Shannon Phillips, has been awarded $2.7 million to cover legal fees related to her wrongful termination lawsuit. Here’s the full story.
A Racial Controversy
The incident dates back to 2018 when Starbucks found itself engulfed in a racial controversy after two black men were refused access to a Philadelphia store bathroom, leading to their arrest.
She Was Caught up in the Aftermath
Phillips, who oversaw the store in question, was swiftly terminated in the aftermath of the incident.
Racial Bias in the Company
However, a recent court ruling has not only vindicated her but also exposed deeper issues surrounding racial bias within the company.
On April 12, 2018, an employee of the store contacted the police after Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, both black men, were denied entry to the bathroom due to not being paying customers.
The Men Were Arrested
When the men refused to leave, citing their wait for a business partner, they were arrested for trespassing.
The Incident Was Recorded
The incident quickly escalated, with footage of the arrest going viral.
People Were Outraged
Widespread outrage and protests followed, with accusations of racism and calls for boycotts directed at Starbucks.
An Unfortunate Dismissal
While Phillips was not directly involved in the arrests, the aftermath led to her dismissal from her position as store manager.
She Took Legal Action
In 2019, Shannon Phillips took legal action against Starbucks, claiming that her termination was racially biased.
She Claimed She’s Innocent
Her lawsuit alleged that she had no role in the arrests but was dismissed from her position merely a month later.
In June of this year, she achieved a significant legal victory when a court ruled in her favor, granting her $25 million in punitive damages and $600,000 in compensatory damages.
Victory of Justice
Phillips’ lawyer, Laura Carlin Mattiacci, hailed the unanimous verdict as a triumph of justice.
Mattiacci emphasized that the clear and compelling evidence presented during the trial justified the punitive damages awarded under New Jersey law.
What’s Really Happening Inside the Company
The victory not only granted Phillips financial compensation but also lent credence to her claims of racial bias within the company’s practices.
Phillips alleged that Starbucks initiated punitive measures against white employees who were not directly involved in the incident to showcase their response to the controversy.
Fired for Being White
One striking example she presented was the suspension of a white male manager, with 15 years of experience, due to a racial discrimination allegation. The claim was centered on pay discrepancies between white and non-white employees at the manager’s store.
The Manager Had No Say in Wage Decisions
Phillips questioned the suspension, arguing that the manager had no authority over wage decisions and lacked a history of discriminatory behavior.
No Action Taken
Moreover, she highlighted that the black manager of the store where the arrests occurred faced no disciplinary action despite the involvement of his subordinate in calling the police.
Subjected to Racial Discrimination
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident. One Twitter user wrote, “If she was pretty obviously subjected to racial discrimination as is shown in the lawsuit she deserves the money. Companies should be held accountable for their racism and other forms of discrimination.”
“The System of White Supremacy in Full Effect!”
Another User wrote, “The system of white supremacy in full effect! White Americans getting paid for being victims of anti-white racism.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mladen Zivkovic. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.