They Fired Her Because She’s White

( – Shannon Phillips, a former regional director at Starbucks who claims she was terminated due to her race, has won a lawsuit against the company and received $25.6 million in damages.

Phillips oversaw an area that included Philadelphia and was let go following the arrest of two African American men at one of her Starbucks locations in April 2018.

Phillips had been with Starbucks for around 13 years and was managing a series of stores at the time of her termination.

After a six-day trial, a New Jersey jury unanimously found in favor of Phillips, according to CNN, which quoted Console Mattiacci Law, her legal representation.

Starbucks’ representative, Jaci Anderson, expressed disappointment with the verdict and said they were considering what to do next. At the same time, Phillips’ attorneys disclosed that she would be pursuing back and front pay in addition to the awarded damages.

The 2018 incident that led to Phillips’ dismissal triggered public controversy and protests.

The two men arrested had been asked to leave the Starbucks after they sat at a table without ordering anything. They declined, stating that they were waiting for a business associate. Regardless, the store’s manager called the police, who escorted the men out in handcuffs.

The two men sued Starbucks and the City of Philadelphia, ultimately reaching settlement agreements.

In 2019, Phillips initiated her lawsuit against Starbucks, asserting that her termination was based on her race, resulting in discriminatory treatment.

She claimed that Starbucks punished white employees who had no involvement in the arrests to appease the Philadelphia community and show that they had appropriately addressed the incident.

Phillips further claimed that she was asked by Starbucks to put a white employee on leave for discriminatory conduct, which she knew was untrue.

She attempted to defend the employee and was subsequently fired. According to her complaint, this was “a pretext for race discrimination” and her race was a significant factor in Starbucks’ discriminatory actions.