VOA: Starbucks to Close Stores for Anti-Bias Training

This May 27, 2018 photo shows a sign displayed at a Starbucks cafe in Portland, Maine, reminding customers that the store will be closed Tuesday for training.

Last Updated: May 28, 2018 10:52 PM

In an effort to stem the outcry over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores, Starbucks will close 8,000 U.S. stores Tuesday afternoon for anti-bias training for its employees.

On April 12, two black men went to a Philadelphia store and did not buy anything; instead, they told the store manager they were waiting for a friend to join them. They were asked to leave and an employee called police, which led to their arrest, prompting protests and accusations of racism.

A video of the incident that was posted on social media became a major embarrassment for the coffee chain.

Soon after, Starbucks announced a policy change, welcoming anyone to sit in its cafes or use its restrooms, even if they don’t buy anything.

Protesters gather outside a Starbucks in Philadelphia, April 15, 2018, where two black men were arrested Thursday after Starbucks employees called police to say the men were trespassing.

Previously, it was left to individual store managers to decide whether people could access Starbucks premises without making a purchase.

“We are committed to creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome,” Starbucks said in a statement.

The company has asked employees to follow established procedure when dealing with “disruptive behaviors,” and are still asked to call 911 in case of “immediate threat or danger” to customers or employees.

The men who were arrested in April, settled with Starbucks earlier this month for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education for each of them.

They also reached a deal with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from city officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.

Source: VOA

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Starbucks to Close Stores for Anti-Bias Training
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In an effort to stem the outcry over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores, Starbucks will close 8,000 U.S. stores Tuesday afternoon for anti-bias training for its employees.