Anti-bias training: How Starbucks is tackling implicit bias

Starbucks has planned an elaborate racial bias training session for its employees.On Tuesday afternoon, May 29...

Posted: May 29, 2018 2:07 PM
Updated: May 29, 2018 2:07 PM

Starbucks has planned an elaborate racial bias training session for its employees.

On Tuesday afternoon, May 29, workers at each location will break into small groups to learn together. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, Chairman Howard Schultz and musician and activist Common will serve as virtual guides. Employees will talk about their own experiences, and watch a film about bias.

The company explained that each store will get a tool kit to help guide the trainings. The session will focus on understanding both racial bias and the history of racial discrimination in public spaces in the United States.

About 175,000 workers will participate. The session will take place in stores and offices and about 8,000 company-owned stores will close for the event. More trainings will follow.

The coffee chain announced the training session after two black men were arrested for trespassing in a Philadelphia Starbucks. A store manager called the police because the two men were sitting in the store without placing an order. The customers said they were waiting for another man to arrive.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that the training, among other efforts, will help make sure that nothing like the arrests will happen at a Starbucks again.

"The incident has prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks," Schultz said in an open letter to customers on Tuesday. "The reflection has led to a long-term commitment to reform systemwide policies, while elevating inclusion and equity in all we do."

The letter ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times, USA Today and two Philadelphia papers.

Related: Starbucks has a bold plan to address racial bias. Will it work?

The company tapped several experts and researchers to help develop the curriculum, including Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Heather McGhee, president of the public policy organization Demos.

Ifill and McGhee, who both served as unpaid advisers, told reporters on a media call on Thursday that they think Starbucks' plan is ambitious. They added that they will issue a report in the next few weeks outlining a comprehensive set of issues they believe the company must address.

"We've made it clear that we won't be a rubber stamp to validate their programming," McGhee said.

Ifill said that Starbucks management received a version of the bias training this week.

The company said it will release training materials to the public next week, so others can use it.

"Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores," Starbucks executive Rossan Williams told employees in a note on Wednesday.

Starbucks recently changed its policy to allow people who haven't made a purchase to spend time in stores or use the bathroom.

Related: Starbucks: You don't need to buy anything to hang out in our stores

But there are limits to the new policy. If customers are disruptive, employees are advised to step in.

The company offered specific guidelines in a document shared with employees. The list of inappropriate behaviors includes smoking, using drugs or alcohol, sleeping or improperly using the restroom. Starbucks added that customers could be asked to change their behavior if they are unreasonably loud, watching something inappropriate on a personal device or their personal hygiene disrupts others.

Starbucks advises employees to consider whether they'd be disturbed by the behavior in question if it was coming from a different customer. It also suggests that they consult colleagues to see if they agree that the person is being disruptive. If so, employees are instructed to approach the customer, while another employee watches, and respectfully ask the customer to cease the offensive action. If a Starbucks employee thinks the situation isn't safe, he or she should call the police.

Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request to clarify whether Tuesday's training will offer more advice or training to employees on how to maintain the new policy.

-- CNN's Yon Pomrenze and Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30674

Reported Deaths: 1107
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds248039
DeSoto157216
Madison129634
Jones112049
Neshoba98571
Rankin91612
Lauderdale90879
Harrison88610
Forrest86042
Scott77015
Jackson61616
Copiah60216
Washington5789
Leake57519
Holmes55141
Lee54718
Wayne54213
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51118
Yazoo5056
Leflore48651
Lowndes48312
Grenada4795
Lamar4567
Lincoln45434
Pike43112
Monroe39930
Lafayette3894
Sunflower3737
Attala35923
Covington3475
Panola3456
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Adams31018
Simpson3103
Pontotoc2836
Tate27810
Chickasaw27618
Marion27511
Claiborne27010
Jasper2616
Noxubee2618
Winston2596
Pearl River25432
Clay24910
Marshall2263
Smith22011
Union2079
Clarke20624
Walthall2004
Coahoma1996
Kemper17814
Lawrence1741
Yalobusha1717
Carroll16411
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1312
Tippah13011
Calhoun1294
Hancock12613
Webster12510
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite892
George863
Tishomingo781
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn682
Perry664
Stone641
Franklin452
Sharkey350
Benton340
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather