Ex-Philly Starbucks Director Claims She Was Scapegoated Following Wrongful Arrests

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A white former regional operations director of Philadelphia-area Starbucks claims the coffee empire fired her to make amends with the community after the 2018 wrongful arrest of two black men at a Center City store, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

In a newly filed federal lawsuit, Shannon Phillips, who led Starbucks’ retail operations in southern New Jersey, the Philadelphia region, Delaware, and parts of Maryland, says she had nothing to do with the arrests of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson. Still, she says, she was terminated less than a month after the incident because she objected to placing the white district manager at the 18th and Spruce Streets store on administrative leave for purportedly paying lower salaries to black workers than their white counterparts. Phillips, who lives in South Jersey and worked for the coffee chain for 13 years, says Starbucks’ reason for disciplining the manager was “factually impossible,” as the company’s “Partner Resources” branch sets employee salaries without input from the store’s district manager.

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