ABC has more details on this story:
A New Jersey federal judge has ordered Starbucks to pay a former employee who was awarded $25.6 million in a wrongful termination suit an extra $2.7 million in damages.
Shannon Phillips, a former regional director for the chain, sued the coffee giant in 2019, claiming that she was fired for being white.
On Wednesday, Judge Joel Slomsky ordered Starbucks to pay Phillips $2,736,755 in back pay, front pay and tax gross, court documents show.
The ruling comes after a Camden jury ordered the coffee giant to pay Phillips $25.6 million in settlement money, including punitive and compensatory damages, following a trial in June.
Phillips, 52, claimed in her lawsuit that “her race was a determinative factor” in Starbucks’ decision to fire her in the wake of a 2018 racial firestorm.
In April 2018, two Black men — Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson — were arrested while waiting for a business meeting after an employee called 911 and accused the men of trespassing after they refused to make a purchase or leave the store. The arrests sparked nationwide protests and prompted Starbucks to close some of its stores for a day for racial bias training.
Less than a month after the arrests, Phillips was notified of her termination, despite claiming that she wasn’t at the store that day and was not involved in the arrests in any way.
The phrase “go woke, go broke” has been echoing for a while now.
First, we saw the backlash against Bud Light, and now Starbucks is finding out the hard way that these aren’t just catchy words, but a looming reality for corporations choosing the woke path.
And it seems the coffee giant might be learning that lesson in a rather expensive manner.
A staggering $25.6 million— that’s what Starbucks was ordered to pay Shannon Phillips by a federal jury in Camden.
Phillips, who was a former manager in the Philadelphia area, claimed that she was unjustly terminated on the grounds of her being white.
And if that wasn’t enough of a blow to the coffee corporation, a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky piled on another $2.7 million for pay and tax damages.
— NDTV (@ndtv) August 17, 2023
— Steve and Ted (@steveandted) August 17, 2023
Shannon Phillips, who had been a regional director for the chain, sued the company in 2019, saying that she had been fired the year before for being white. https://t.co/OlD5eqQBGF
— The Patriot-News (@PatriotNews) August 17, 2023
So what sparked this multi-million dollar payout?
A video that depicted the arrest of two Black men at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia went viral, causing a nationwide uproar.
This incident led to protests, policy changes, and even public apologies from Starbucks.
Amid this racial firestorm, Phillips was shown the door.
The Philadelphia Inquirer confirms:
Starbucks must pay a former Philadelphia-area manager — who was awarded a $25.6 million verdict after a jury determined she was fired in 2018 for being white — an additional $2.7 million, a federal judge has ruled.
In addition to the $25.6 million in damages awarded in June by a federal jury sitting in Camden, Starbucks must also pay Shannon Phillips $2,736,755 in pay and tax damages, U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky ordered Wednesday.
Phillips was fired soon after the arrests of two Black men at a Philadelphia store was caught on a video that went viral. The arrests prompted national uproar; protests at the Center City location; policy changes; apologies from Starbucks; and questions over racism, policing, and public safety.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that corporations need to tread cautiously in these divisive times.
Choosing to adopt a “woke” stance can have severe financial implications, and Starbucks’ recent hefty payout is just the latest example.
As the public continues to watch and weigh in, one can’t help but wonder: How many more companies will pay the price for their “woke sins” before the lesson is learned?