Starbucks Reaches Deal With EEOC Over Alleged Racial Bias in Promoting Employees
Starbucks said Wednesday it has resolved allegations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about alleged racial bias in its employee promotions, based on data from 2007 through 2011. In a letter to employees, CEO Kevin Johnson said that Starbucks does not know what prompted the EEOC allegations and that the company’s analysis of its own data did not show systemic discrimination in store-level promotions. To make the promotion process for cafe employees more formal and transparent, Starbucks is developing an application tracking system that shows all retail job postings and includes ways to track data.
Total Retail's Take: Ensuring a diverse and equitable organization is not only the right thing to do, it's also beneficial to a company's bottom line. While not acknowledging wrongdoing, this matter has caused the coffee brand to focus more resources on structural changes necessary to support partners’ career progressions and ensure that every partner has the opportunity to learn about promotion opportunities, notes Johnson.
For example, store managers will no longer be able to promote workers outside of the formal promotion framework, and the company is rolling out new training for leadership involved in hiring decisions, including new interview guides. Furthermore, the responsibilities of Starbucks’ inclusion and diversity team will expand to include overseeing compliance and analytics and ensuring that diversity goals play a role in making business decisions. The company has also hired an independent labor economist to analyze data, create promotion goals and track its progress in achieving those targets.