A white woman who used to be a regional manager with massively popular coffee chain Starbucks was awarded a massive $25 million payday in a civil lawsuit she filed claiming to be fired from the store over the color of her skin. To those who still believe that white people cannot be discriminated against because they are allegedly in a position of power in culture, allow me to present exhibit A.
A federal jury handed Shannon Phillips a big win on Monday, not only awarding her the $25 million, but an additional $600,000 in compensatory damages after members agreed unanimously that Starbucks booted her from her position because of her race.
“I was terminated because I am white,” Phillips went on to say in court documents filed in 2019. “If I was black, I would not have been terminated. I was terminated because I complained of and objected to race discrimination.”
TheBlaze reported, “The circumstances surrounding Phillips’ termination began five years ago, when two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were infamously arrested at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia after employees told them they could not use the store restrooms unless they first made a purchase. The men refused to leave or purchase anything, insisting that they were still waiting on a third party. Because of their intransigence that day, an employee eventually called the cops, and the two were arrested, though they were never charged with any crime.”
Starbucks basically lost their minds in a panic in the fallout that came after the men were arrested, which spread across news outlets all over the country. Kevin Johnson, who was the company’s CEO at the time, nearly fell over himself to get to Philadelphia to apologize to the men. He then ordered a whopping 8,000 stores in the company’s chain to shut down for an afternoon so that a total of 175,000 workers could attend racial sensitivity training.
“Phillips, who worked for Starbucks for 13 years, was not the manager on duty when the arrest took place, nor was she involved in the decision to call police on Nelson and Robinson. In fact, she was a regional director responsible for overseeing 100 stores spanning parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and had little input in the day-to-day operations of those establishments,” TheBlaze said.
However, she then went on to allege in the lawsuit she, along with other white workers, soon became a favorite target for the incident, being suspended or fired from their positions in order to “convince the community that Starbucks had properly responded” to the situation.
Not long after the incident happened, Phillips said she was ordered to put a white manager, who had given the company 15 years of service, on administrative leave for racial discrimination, even though she did not believe the man was guilty of any such action.
“Senior officials had received a complaint that non-white employees working at the man’s store were paid less than white employees, but Phillips countered that, even if the accusation were true, the manager could not be held responsible since local managers have no say in employee compensation, per company policy. After Phillips refused to suspend the man, she was fired with the explanation that ‘the situation is not recoverable,'” the complaint went on to say.
Phillips stated in court documents that the district manager at the store where the arrests took place is black, but he did not receive any sort of penalty for his connection to the situation.
The regional manager then stated that the company replaced her with “substantially less qualified employees who had not complained of race discrimination.”
Starbucks responded by denying the accusations, making the claim that Phillips was fired due to poor leadership during the incident, which the company called a “crisis.”
“After the jury rendered its verdict on Monday, Starbucks spokesperson Jaci Anderson expressed disappointment and told CNN that the company would soon be evaluating its next steps,” the report stated.
Well, the next steps are paying the money owed to Phillips for being wrongfully terminated. That’s what’s next. I can’t believe that’s something that even needs to be discussed.
As for Phillips, she’s very happy about the decision, however, she’s still seeking back pay from Starbucks.
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