‘Flagrant Violations’: Starbucks Sued Over Alleged Discriminatory Hiring Practices

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jack McEvoy Energy & Environment Reporter
Font Size:

The American Civil Rights Project (ACR) is filing a lawsuit against Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and the company’s directors in Washington state’s Spokane County Superior Court over alleged racially discriminatory policies in its hiring practices, according to legal documents.

ACR argues that Starbucks discriminates against white applicants in its hiring practices by prioritizing a “diverse” workforce which violates both state and federal laws, according to court filings. The legal complaint, which was filed on behalf of the National Center For Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a longtime Starbucks shareholder and conservative think tank, aims to end Starbucks’ alleged discriminatory practices and hold the beverage company responsible for negative effects shareholders may have experienced as a result of the policy. (RELATED: Starbucks Is Closing 16 Stores Amid Crime And Drug Use Concerns)

“Clearly, Starbucks wants to hire and promote people on the basis of their race and ethnicity rather than according to merit and achievement,” Scott Shepard, director of NCPPR’s Free Enterprise Project, told the DCNF.  “This violates the Constitution and civil rights laws, so it has developed this system to try to skirt those laws.”

Starbucks set targets for the number of ‘diverse,’ meaning non-white, workers it hires, and the diverse employee workforce targets are directly tied to the compensation that company executives are paid, according to court documents.

“It is still paying its management employees more if they hire on the basis of race and ethnicity until their “targets” are met,” Shepard continued.

Starbucks employees are pictured on stage at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Seattle, Washington on March 20, 2019. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

The lawsuit also argues that Starbucks’ decision to discriminate against white applicants violates the company’s obligation to make money for its shareholders as race should have no impact on hiring standards. Moreover, Starbucks’ potentially illegal actions could also result in a countless lawsuits filed by individual parties, which would result in significant losses for its shareholders as the business would be forced to pay substantial legal fees, according to court documents.

“Their flagrant violations of long-established corporate law and long-established civil rights law open them up a great deal of additional litigation in which shareholders will bear the consequences,” ACR Project Executive Director Dan Morenoff told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Since most of corporate America seems to have decided the law doesn’t apply to them, they need to be reminded that it does.”

Starbucks states that its aims to achieve “BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) representation of at least 30% of all corporate levels and at least 40% at all retail and manufacturing roles” by 2025, according to its website. The beverage company released its ‘Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Timeline‘ on Aug. 1 to demonstrate previous initiatives to promote its “diverse hiring” and “economic development” initiatives.

Starbucks also offers mentoring programs exclusively for ‘BIPOC’ employees and states that 48.2% of its workers are BIPOC on its website.

Starbucks did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact