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Starbucks Numbers Show Lack of Diversity in Promotion

In its third annual civil rights assessment, Starbucks revealed it settled claims of racial bias in promotions with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The company stated it did not know what caused the EEOC to investigate but understood the EEOC reviewed workforce data from 2007-2011. The company asserted its own review of the data did not reveal systemic discrimination for store-level promotions. An outside law firm conducted the assessment based on data provided by Starbucks and issued a report showing “minority retail partners in the United States received fewer promotions than statistically expected.” Starbucks did not disclose any details from the agreement with the EEOC.

In October 2020, Starbucks announced executive pay targets would be tied to racial diversity. The company’s corporate workforce is less racially diverse than employees in its stores. In stores, the breakdown is roughly 8% Black, 5% Asian, and 27% Hispanic or Latino. Those numbers drop to 4% Black and 7% Hispanic or Latino at the corporate level, with Asian representation increasing to 19%. To address bias issues in its stores, Starbucks announced plans requiring managers to promote based solely on an established hiring and promotion process. To be considered for promotion, applicants must apply through the process. Starbucks hired an independent labor economist to assess its progress as well as track job postings and promotion opportunities. Managers will receive more training on making “merit-based and equitable hiring decisions” tied to job requirements.