• Starbucks

    Added May 13, 2020


    Starbucks is a publicly traded, multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves. Founded in 1971 as a small coffee shop in Pike Place Market, the company has since grown to over 30,000 locations in 77 countries. As a nod to their origin, Starbucks is still headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Starbucks employs nearly 300,000 people and generates around $24B in revenue annually.

    • Starbucks came under fire in early June of 2020 when they sent a memo to their employees that they were not allowed to wear Black Lives Matter clothing or accessories to work. Starbucks reasoning was that wearing clothing and accessories highlighting Black Lives Matter could be misunderstood and potentially incite violence. However, this point was quickly contested when employees pointed out that Starbucks does permit employees to wear accessories that promote marriage equality and LGBTQ rights.
    • A week after Starbucks had sent the memo banning Black Lives Matter clothing, they decided to reverse their decision and allow employees to wear clothing of accessories in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement.
    • Starbucks has had other scandals in the past, most notably, another instance of racial injustice that took place in a Philadelphia Starbucks. In 2018, two black men were sitting peacefully in a Starbucks when an employee called the cops on the men as they had “not ordered anything from the store”. When officers arrived, the two men calmly explained to the officer that they were waiting for a third friend to join them. The third friend did indeed arrive shortly after but the officers still arrested the two men on “suspicion of trespassing”.
    • On March 20, 2020, Starbucks announced a generous policy whereby employees in the US and Canada would be paid in full for up to 30 days of absence during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • However, Starbucks did not come around to this position quickly. A Buzzfeed investigation found numerous cases during the crucial time when the virus was spreading throughout the US where employees showed up to work sick and were not only allowed to serve food and drinks to customers, but were also refused leave by management.
    • Employees during these fraught early days of the virus were unable to take the requisite 2-week quarantine period off of work, undoubtedly enabling the spread of the virus to other employees and customers.

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