Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Starbucks changes bathroom policy amid arrest backlash

Starbucks changes bathroom policy amid arrest backlash

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) has changed its restroom policy following the racist arrests of two black men in a Philadelphia location. After much media coverage and a personal visit to the Rittenhouse Square Starbucks, Chairman Howard Schultz announced on Thursday a new corporate policy stating that all restrooms will be available to anyone wanting to use the facilities, regardless of whether they are a paying customer.

"We don't want to become a public bathroom". One of the men asked to use the bathroom but was denied by the manager because they hadn't purchased anything. The two childhood friends and business partners were waiting for a business meeting they had scheduled there.

"We don't want to become a public bathroom", said Schultz, "but we're going to make the right decision a 100 percent of the time and give people the key".

"We have a kind of a loose policy around, 'you should be able to use the bathroom if you buy something, '" he said.

Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were accused of trespassing last month after the manager said the two men refused to buy anything or leave the store. "And it's really the judgment of the manager".

Almost 175,000 employees will be part of the training which is created to "address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome", according to a press release from Starbucks. "The policy and the decision [the store manager] made", Schultz said. However, he did go on to say that ultimately it's "the company that's responsible", not one store, which is why he and Starbucks's other execs "flew en masse to Philadelphia", "stayed there for days", and "did everything we could to demonstrate contrition".

Not long after the Philadelphia arrests, a video surfaced of another incident in California that had taken place in January. Neither man had made a purchase.

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