Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Business | By Pearl Harrison

Starbucks to close early for company-wide diversity training

Starbucks to close early for company-wide diversity training

Starbucks will close all of its more than 8,000 US stores for a portion of Tuesday afternoon so its employees can undergo racial bias and sensitivity training in the wake of a confrontation with two black customers at one of its Philadelphia locations. The men were arrested after a manager called police on them for trespassing while they waited on a friend to join them to order.

Starbucks will close 8,000 of its locations across the US on May 29, and here's everything you need to know! Participating stores will close around 2 p.m.to 3 pm, local time.

The plan covers only Starbucks-operated stores; almost all of the 7,000 Starbucks-licensed coffee shops - in places like supermarkets, hotels, and airports - are likely to remain open, the company says.

Each store will receive a tool kit which will allow for partners to learn together in small self-guided groups.

The company's chief executive, Kevin Johnson, flew to Philadelphia to meet with Nelson and Robinson, who later reached a settlement with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum. The company will also share a new original film by filmmaker Stanley Nelson, who has more than 20 years' experience as a producer, director, and writer of documentary films and videos examining African American history and experiences.


A video previewing the training says it will include recorded remarks from Starbucks executives. Ifill and her fellow unpaid adviser, Heather McGhee, the president of the public policy organization Demos, will issue a report outlining a comprehensive set of issues they believe the company must address.

"For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome".

Starbucks apologized for the incident, which sparked protests, online outrage, and calls for both clarifications of the chain's policies and for new training for its employees. Starbucks added that customers could be asked to change their behavior if they are unreasonably loud, watching something inappropriate on a personal device or their personal hygiene disrupts others. It also suggests that they consult colleagues to see if they agree the person is being disruptive. The guidelines encourage workers to ask if they would take the considered action with any customer, to verify the perceived situation with a co-worker and to dial 911 if the situation becomes unsafe.

Starbucks said in a statement that the training content will be shared with these stores "so they may have the option to make it available to their employees at a later date".

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