Updated as of 8/21/2023 at 9:45 a.m. ET
A judge ordered Starbucks to pay an additional $2.7 million in lost wages and tax damages to Shannon Phillips, a former regional manager who was accused of telling her employees to call the cops on two Black men back in 2018.
She already banked $25 million in punitive damages and another $600,000 in compensatory damages after filing a discrimination suit alleging she was fired following the viral incident because she was white. A New Jersey jury agreed with her, per an AP report.
The new payment is to compensate for past and future earnings and benefits that were stalled because of her termination.
Starbucks ain’t letting down so easy. The report says the company refused to pay Phillips any more money because she didn’t prove she couldn’t have earned the same money or more in the future. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the company is seeking a new trial based on jury bias concerns and a shady witness testimony.
As far as the two men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, who were the main subjects of the incident, they reached a deal with the city of Philadelphia to set up a program for young entrepreneurs.
An employee at the Rittenhouse Square Starbucks in Philly refused Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson the ability to use the bathroom while they waited for their colleague for a business meeting, per the report. They were soon asked to leave, though not appearing to stir up any trouble in the video. When they refused to leave, the manager of that store, a Black man, ordered that employee to call the police.
The video of the interaction went viral, sparking protests against the company and outrage over weaponizing 911 calls against Black people. The public’s response inevitably led to calls for accountability all the up the ladder to Phillips, the regional manager, who was accused of responding poorly to the alleged racially motivated act.
Phillips alleged while she was terminated from her position, the leadership at the store in question faced no backlash. Her next move was taking Starbucks to court in a racial discrimination suit.
Read more from The New York Times:
The jury found that Starbucks had violated the federal civil rights of the former manager, Shannon Phillips, as well as a New Jersey law that prohibits discrimination based on race, awarding her $600,000 in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.
Ms. Phillips said in the suit that Starbucks, as part of its damage-control effort after the arrests, had sought to punish her and other white employees in and around Philadelphia even if they had not been involved in the events that led to the police being called.
The video paired with the most recent police shootings and unlawful arrests of Black people was the perfect storm. Starbucks was under so much pressure, the company’s chief executive issued a public apology and had 8,000 stores close to train employees on racial bias.