Starbucks needs more than an afternoon of training to get rid of racial bias among its 175,000 employees, said the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in a report, which recommended wide-ranging changes at the Seattle-based leading coffee maker.
The company must regularly audit its 8,000 stores for racial profiling. It also has to update its policy manuals and work with the local police. Moreover, Starbucks also needs to conduct an in-depth “Civil Rights audit” to review its policies, racial diversity, pay practices, and processes, according to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in a 28-page long report that was released on Monday.
In the report, the NAACP also recommended paying for anti-bias training for local police, particularly in minority communities where the presence of a Starbucks store can contribute to racial tension by gentrifying the neighborhood.
The report was penned by Sherrilyn Ifill, who is the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Education Fund, and Heather McGhee, who is the president of Demos, a public policy organization.
Starbucks also announced on Monday a new in-depth, anti-bias training modules for leaders and baristas. Ifill and McGhee are now advising the company after a Philadelphia store manager sparked public outrage for calling the cops on two African-American men who were just waiting for a friend. The incident happened on April 12.
The coffee maker is considered as an “outlier” in the food and beverage industry for providing benefits to part-time worker. However, Ifill and McGhee stated that the company should review its pay practices and whether employees are being given enough weekly hours to earn a living wage.
They said the company should correct any salary discrepancies, as well as adjust pay higher and respect efforts among workers who want to unionize rank-and-file employees.
“As the company sets new goals for diversity at its corporate headquarters, the leadership must represent a rich mix of people across race if they are to implement the new standards effectively,” said the two advisers. “This will require an overhaul of their recruitment practices, hiring protocols and retention-related professional development systems.”
Further, the two advisers added that the company should standardize all of its interview protocols in order to eradicate any implicit bias as well as add to the number of racial and ethnic hires across all levels within the management and the organization.
Ifill and McGhee also pushed for the reexamination of Starbucks’ store manual and handbook and correct any policies that were “confusing” to employees.
“But as Starbucks has already recognized, its Standard Store Operations Manual contains several important omissions. It includes no guidance to the use of bathrooms, when or if partners should approach customers who don’t purchase products, or when or if law enforcements should be summoned to the store.”
After the Philadelphia incident, Starbucks has opened its stores to the public. They have started allowing nonpaying customers to use its cafes and bathrooms. In addition to that, the company also offered information about the proper way to address disruptive behaviors without having to contact the police. It also provided information on the right way to contact community resources. It emphasized that the police should only come in the picture as a response to danger.
“What happened to us shouldn’t happen to anyone,” said Donte Robinson, who is one of the men arrested in the incident. “While we cannot change the events of April 12th, we are committed to doing what we can to increase opportunities in our community and to prevent other African-Americans from being profiled at Starbucks or any other business.”
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