The former Philadelphia Starbucks manager who called the police on two Black real estate agents for not buying anything is suing the company, claiming her termination was racially discriminatory.
Video of the arrest racked up over 10 million views, and demonstrators forced the store near Rittenhouse Square to shut down for a day — promoting the company to close over 8,000 locations across the nation for racial biased training.
The manager at the center of the PR nightmare, Shannon Phillips, was fired less than a month after the arrests, according to her lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, MSN.com reports.
The complaint, which claims racial discrimination was a “motivating” or “determining” factor in Phillips’ termination, noted that Starbucks “took steps to punish white employees who had not been involved in the arrests” to “convince the community that it had properly responded to the incident.”
Phillips, who is white, was a 13-year employee of the company, who “took steps to ensure that the retail locations within her area were a safe and welcoming environment for all customers, regardless of race,” according to the lawsuit.
In the suit, Phillips alleges Starbucks ordered that she fire a subordinate who had nothing to do with the store where the arrests occurred. The Black manager of the Philadelphia location was not penalized, NBC News reported.
Phillips’ bosses reportedly told her that the white manager was kicked to the curb after non-white employees complained about being paid less. When Phillips pointed out that another division of the company handles salaries, she was fired.
The lawsuit states that Phillips suffered “irreparable injury and monetary damages” as a result of the company’s”discriminatory acts.”
She is seeking reportedly compensation and punitive damages as well as legal and equitable relief.
Starbucks told Fox News: “We deny the claims in the lawsuit and are prepared to defend our case in court.”