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Starbucks Shareholder Sues Company Over Diversity Policies

The complaint names interim CEO Howard Schulz and 34 other current and former executives as defendants.
Starbucks corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington | Shutterstock
Starbucks corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington | Shutterstock

A Starbucks shareholder is suing the company and several of its leaders over a string of diversity policies they allege constitute unlawful discrimination.

The National Center for Public Policy Research filed the complaint Tuesday on the plaintiff’s behalf, pointing to company policies of racial hiring quotas, tying executive pay to diversity, and preferring “diverse” suppliers and advertisers, according to Reuters.

Starbucks announced several of these policies in October 2020, amid rising racial tensions nationwide in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the outlet noted. The company aims to put diverse persons in 30% of its corporate posts and 40% of its retail and manufacturing positions by 2025.

The complaint names interim CEO Howard Schultz and 34 other current and former executives as defendants, saying it “benefits them personally to pose as virtuous advocates of ‘Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity,’ even as it harms the company and its owners.”

The plaintiff seeks to both halt the policies and to require Schultz and the other executives to pay damages directly to Starbucks.

Starbucks announced a string of store closures earlier this year, citing dangerous environments that had made the stores unsafe. It also earned a place in the headlines after firing employees for attempting to unionize, ultimately winning the court battle in that case.

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