Ex-Employee Sues Starbucks for Discrimination Against White People


A former Starbucks regional operations director is suing the world renowned coffee chain for alleged racial discrimination against herself and fellow employees.

Shannon Phillips, a white woman formerly in charge of “retail operations in southern New Jersey, the Philadelphia region, Delaware, and parts of Maryland,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, was fired last year after the controversial April 2018 arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks.

Now, Phillips has filed a federal lawsuit alleging she and other white employees were targeted and scapegoated by the brand to appease communities of color angered by the incident.

A Starbucks employee of 13 years, Phillips says she was not fired in direct response to the arrest incident, which she claims not to have been involved in.

However, she says she was fired less than one month later for advocating against the allegedly unfair corporate punishment of one of her employees — a white district manager who was also not involved in the April 2018 controversy — in light of the scandal.

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Starbucks’ official policy in light of the wrongful arrests included, among other things, the roll-out of a mandatory, company-wide “racial bias training.”

According to Phillips, however, this policy of inward improvement resulted in the reprimanding and punishing of at least one white employee who had done nothing wrong.

The official lawsuit claims the company sought to “punish white employees who had not been involved in the arrests, but who worked in and around the city of Philadelphia, in an effort to convince the community that it had properly responded to the incident.”

One such case, Phillips says, involved an attempt by the company to place a white district manager on administrative leave for allegedly paying black employees less than white workers.

Phillips claims to have spoken up, believing the claims against the employee to be “factually impossible” due to standard operating procedure — which, The Inquirer reported, demands that the chain’s “Partner Resources” branch sets “employee salaries without input from the store’s district manager.”

Phillips’ lawyers did not respond to The Inquirer’s request for comment.

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WPVI did report Phillips is seeking a jury trial.

A Starbucks representative denied Phillips’ claims, telling WPVI the company is “prepared to defend our case in court.”

The Western Journal reached out to the law office representing Phillips but did not hear back in time for publication of this article. We will update this story if and when we do hear back.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.