White Starbucks Manager, Fired Over Racism Row, Gets Extra $2.7 Million

In 2019, Ms. Phillips had accused Starbucks of wrongful termination

Coffee giant Starbucks has been ordered to pay a former employee an extra $2.7 million in damages in a racial discrimination case. The former Philadelphia-area manager was previously awarded $25.6 million in a wrongful termination suit after a jury determined she was fired in 2018 for being white. 

As per ABC News, a New Jersey federal judge on Wednesday ordered the coffee giant to pay Shannon Phillips $2,736,755 in back pay, front pay, and tax gross. 

Notably, the ex-manager who worked for the company for about 13 years was fired after the arrest of two Black men at the Philadelphia branch in April 2018. One of two black men waiting in the shop was denied permission to use the toilet because he did not purchase anything.

The men said that they were at the shop for a business meeting and were waiting for someone. When the two men refused to leave, the staff called the police, who handcuffed the pair and escorted them from the cafe.

Their arrests were captured on camera and triggered protests which led to the company closing all of its stores. While regional manager Ms. Phillips was fired, the manager of the shop where the incident took place, who was black, kept his job. 

In 2019, Ms. Phillips accused Starbucks of wrongful termination and of unfairly punishing white employees like her in response to the arrests. She claimed in her lawsuit that “her race was a determinative factor” in Starbucks’ decision to fire her. 

Her lawyer, Laura C. Mattiacci, later said Ms. Phillips was a ”scapegoat” to ”show action being taken” following the furor over the episode.

A federal jury in New Jersey found that Starbucks had violated Ms. Phillips’s federal civil rights, as well as a New Jersey law that prohibits discrimination based on race, reported BBC.