Starbucks closes 8,000 stores for anti-bias training

May 30, 2018, 05:58
Starbucks closes 8,000 stores for anti-bias training

It's unclear exactly what the company's several-hour racial bias training session entails because media wasn't allowed to spectate. And thats why more 175,000 Starbucks employees were undergoing anti-bias training on Tuesday instead of serving Riley and scores of customers across the Tampa Bay region.

Starbucks is making all of its training materials available for free Wednesday to anyone who wants to see them.

Earlier this month, Nestle and Starbucks struck a US$7 billion coffee licensing deal aimed at strengthening each company's global position.

"The training is a first start, to something that can be lovely in America". In 2016, some stores in Los Angeles closed their bathrooms entirely, even to paying customers, in response to large numbers of homeless people using company facilities. Heather McGhee, president of Demos, an equal rights thinktank, contributed, as did the former United States attorney general Eric Holder and representatives of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education fund.

"In some cases it can even backfire and lead people who are kind of already reactive to these issues to become even more polarized", Lai said.

Starbucks declined to specify how much the training cost the company, though Schultz said it was "quite expensive" and called it "an investment in our people and the long-term cultural values of Starbucks".

"The incident has prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks", Schultz said in the open letter. She said she has seen differences in the customer service she has received from white employees versus black employees. The coffee giant said it was created to make Starbucks "a place where all people feel welcome". The two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, said they were at the store for a business meeting.

Does unconscious bias training work?

"I think it's important to address the issue", she added.

Starbucks will close all its 8,000 stores nationwide at 2:30 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 for anti-bias training and will not reopen for the rest of the day. A Starbucks employee had called in, saying the two men refused to make a purchase or leave.

Nelson and Robinson settled with Starbucks this month for an undisclosed number. But she said Perception's workshops typically include mental exercises to show participants how bias creeps into situations.

"It doesn't make sense for me to have to be like 'Oh my gosh, this is how I'd treat Rebecca and this is how I should also treat Susan, ' but when it comes to how you treat me its totally different", Hornes said.

Calvin Lai, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, said diversity training can have mixed effects.

"I think a lot of people assume that a training, a lecture, a session, a brief exposure should be a good thing because it is better than nothing", she said.

Tuesday's effort at sensitivity training, though, was partly overshadowed by another racial controversy, this time involving comedian Roseanne Barr and ABC.

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