Starbucks to close 16 stores citing personal safety concerns

PLUS: A Starbucks Supervisor Sexually Assaulted a Barista. Starbucks Knowingly Kept Him Employed for Months

CNN Business — Starbucks is planning to close 16 locations across various cities, citing safety concerns.

The stores are in Seattle; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Washington, DC, and Portland, Oregon. They will be closed by the end of July.

The decision comes as Starbucks works to change the company culture under interim CEO Howard Schultz — and as employees across the country vote to unionize.

“After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate.” – Starbucks spokesperson 

In a Monday letter to employees, Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, both senior vice presidents of US operations, discussed safety in Starbucks stores.

Employees are “seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities — personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more,” they wrote, adding that “with stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too.”

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Stroud and Nelson said they “read every incident report you file,” adding, “it’s a lot.”

To make workers feel safer in stores, the company is offering active shooter training and other types of trainings, they wrote.

It’s also offering mental health benefits, access to abortion care, clarity around shifts and store policies, and more, the letter stated. The company also may close restrooms to the public, overturning a 2018 policy.

“Most people I know who were working at Starbucks full-time have left for other coffee jobs.” – Tom Mangione, former Starbucks store manager and keyholder [Insider, Nov 15, 2021]

In cases where it isn’t able to create a safe environment in a store, Starbucks will close it permanently, the letter said. In those instances, the company will move employees to neighboring stores.

The moves are part of a broader effort to revamp the company, as outlined in a Monday letter from Schultz.

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“We need to reinvent Starbucks for the future,” he wrote, noting that the company must “radically” improve employee experiences … read more. 

A Starbucks Supervisor Sexually Assaulted a Barista. Starbucks Knowingly Kept Him Employed for Months

By Lauren Kaori Gurley, May 4, 2022

The supervisor kept his job even after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a barista. She got fired.

On Nov. 2, 2021, Claire*, an 18-year-old barista who worked at a Starbucks in a shopping center in Ashland, Virginia, contacted her store manager to tell her that her shift supervisor had sexually assaulted her the day before at his house.

Claire also contacted the Henrico County Police Department to report the assault. Court records show that the state of Virginia charged the worker who assaulted her with “object sexual penetration by force.”

In the following days, Claire said she saw the man who assaulted her working at Starbucks. She started skipping work to cope with feelings of anxiety and depression. “I couldn’t take a shower alone,” Claire told Motherboard about the days following her assault. “I had to have people on the phone with me.”

Starbucks denies that the man who assaulted her worked at the store in the two weeks after she reported the assault.

Motherboard granted Claire pseudonymity to protect her privacy, and has also decided not to publish the name of the Starbucks employee who assaulted her in order to protect Claire’s identity.

The man who assaulted her eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery, and Motherboard has confirmed the details reported in this article with Claire, court records, Claire’s co-workers at Starbucks, and co-workers of the man who assaulted Claire.

On November 11, just nine days after she reported her assault, Starbucks fired Claire for irregular attendance. The man who assaulted Claire, meanwhile, stayed with the company even after he was arrested.

The terms of his bail show he was not allowed to return to Claire’s place of work; after this, he was transferred to Willow Lawn, a Starbucks location in Richmond, Virginia.

He remained there as a shift supervisor for nearly five months, and kept his job even after pleading guilty to assaulting Claire. On April 14, Starbucks finally terminated the worker who assaulted Claire, five weeks after his guilty plea and after the court ordered that he register as a sex offender with Virginia state police.

Starbucks confirmed the timeline of Claire’s employment and that of the worker who assaulted her, and confirmed that it transferred him to a new store after Claire reported the assault … read more. 

Woman Arrested for Hate Crime After Starbucks Attack: Police

The Mountain View Police Department said in a news release at around 3:30 p.m. on May 28, officers responded to reports that a woman had allegedly attacked “a customer and directed racial epithets at a store manager at the Mountain View coffee shop.”

According to police, when officers arrived they “quickly detained” Daixin Neill Quan, 33.

“In interviews with the victim and witnesses, Quan attacked a customer after she noted that the customer spoke with an accent,” police said. “When the victim began recording the incident, Quan lashed out and hit the woman several times, resulting in minor facial injuries.”

Police also alleged that Quan “made racially insensitive remarks to one of the Starbucks managers,” told him to “‘go back to your country,'” and said she would have him “deported back to Mexico.” Police said the man is of Indian descent … read more. 


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