Starbucks Ordered to Pay $25M to Manager Fired for Being White

A U.S. District Court jury in Camden, New Jersey, awarded $25.6 million to a former Starbucks manager who claimed the company fired her for being white.

The firing came amid Black Lives Matter protests over the arrests of two black customers.

Jurors agreed with Shannon Phillips’ claims that she was fired because Starbucks needed a scapegoat.

The company faced a backlash over the arrests of two black men who refused to buy anything and were denied access to the bathroom.

The two men were waiting for a meeting.

After a six-day trial, the jury awarded $300,000 in compensatory damages and $12.5 million in punitive damages on Phillips’ federal civil rights claim and another $300,000 in compensatory and $12.5 million in punitive damages for violations of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.

Laura Mattiacci, Phillips’ lawyer, said:

“Shannon Phillips is very grateful that the jury saw the truth of what happened.”

According to

Jurors also heard testimony that the employee who called police was complying with a Starbucks policy that applied to cafes in areas with crime problems.

The jury also heard testimony from a black Starbucks manager, Paul Sykes, who was the supervisor of the employee who called 911.

Sykes said Phillips, who was his boss, was fired because of her race, and he was safe because of his, according to Laura Mattiacci of Console Mattiacci in Moorestown, New Jersey, who represented Phillips.

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According to The Daily Mail:

She claimed Starbucks started punishing white employees who weren’t involved weeks later in a bid to publicly prove they were handling the incident.

Ms. Phillips alleges the firm ordered her to put a white male manager, who had worked for the company for 15 years, on administrative leave because of a race discrimination allegation against him.

The allegation was based on complaints non-white employees at that manager’s store were paid less than white workers.

Ms. Phillips said she argued the male manager didn’t have a say in wages.

The lawsuit also said Ms. Phillips objected to suspending him because she said the manager wasn’t racist and she had never seen him exhibit discriminatory behavior.

She argued, in comparison, the black manager of the store where the arrests were carried out did not face any disciplinary action.

Ms. Phillips said the black manager’s subordinate was the one who called 911 after the two men sat down and refused to leave after being told they couldn’t use the bathroom without purchasing something.

READ MORE: Jane Fonda Blames ‘White Men’ for ‘Everything,’ Calls to ‘Arrest and Jail’ Them

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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