Exclusive: Former Starbucks manager claims she was fired after viral Philly arrests because she was white

A story you heard first on KYW Newsradio.

John McDevitt
October 30, 2019 - 5:36 pm
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UPDATE: Oct. 31, 12:45 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The former regional manager of the Center City Starbucks where two black men were arrested last year for sitting inside the store, is suing the company for allegedly discriminating against white people.

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In her suit, Shannon Phillips from Woolwich Township, Gloucester County, claims she was terminated from her management position because she is white, less than a month after the two men were arrested inside the store at 18th and Spruce streets.  

Phillips alleges the company discriminated against white people after the high-profile incident as part of "an effort to convince the community that it had properly responded to the incident." 

She contends the company ordered her, as regional manager, to put a white employee from that store on administrative leave for “discriminatory conduct.” She claims the employee was falsely accused and did not have any involvement in the viral arrests.   

Phillips said she proved the claim wasn't correct, and the company did nothing about it.

Phillips also alleges there was no disciplinary action taken against the district manager of that Starbucks store, who is black.

Phillips’ lawyer, who refused to comment, is asking for a jury trial.

Jory Mendes, Starbucks' senior manager of corporate communications, told KYW Newsradio that the company denies the claims of the lawsuit and is prepared to defend the case in court.