Starbucks stores to shut down Tuesday for bias training

Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald during Question Time in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra Monday

Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald during Question Time in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra Monday

Starbucks locations across the country will close their doors Tuesday afternoon to train 175,000 employees about racial bias in one of the largest corporate responses to an incident involving racial profiling.

Starbucks committed to the training after a Philadelphia cafe manager's call to police resulted in the arrests of two black men who were waiting for a friend.

Starbucks will close 8,000 of its locations across the USA on May 29, and here's everything you need to know! Most licensed stores, including those operated by hotels, grocery stores and airports, will operate normally.

Perception executive director Alexis McGill Johnson told Associated Press that the aim of anti-bias training is not to "say you're a bad person because you have a stereotype about a group, but say this is why your brain may have these stereotypes".

The company's chief executive, Kevin Johnson, flew to Philadelphia to meet with Nelson and Robinson, who later reached a settlement with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum. The move comes after backlash over the way two black men were recently treated in a Philadelphia store.

A Starbucks spokesman said Tuesday's training is part of a bigger commitment to anti-bias education.

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"For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome".

The men - Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson - sat down within the Starbucks, awaiting a business meeting, as the store manager called 911 to report them for refusing to leave.

"Unconscious bias training programs at selected organisations alone will not reduce racial harassment and discrimination".

Starbucks recently changed its policy to allow people who haven't made a purchase to spend time in stores or use the bathroom. Starbucks is asking customers to behave in a way that "maintains a warm and welcoming environment".

A guide advises staff to consider whether the actions they take would apply to any customer in the same situation. The list of inappropriate behaviors includes smoking, using drugs or alcohol, sleeping or improperly using the restroom.

Recognizing that there are many ways to deliver racial bias training, Starbucks has worked with advisers and experts to come up with a collaborative and engaging experience for store partners to learn together in a way that is right for the values and scale of the company. If so, employees are instructed to approach the customer, while another employee watches, and respectfully ask the customer to cease the offensive action.

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