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IPFS News Link • Employee and Employer Relations

Judge Lets Starbucks Keep Its Race-Based Hiring Quotas

•, by Tom Ozimek

Chief U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian on Friday ruled against the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), dismissing a lawsuit the conservative nonprofit brought against Starbucks over so-called "affirmative action" policies that included awarding contracts to "diverse" suppliers and advertisers and tying executive pay to allegedly racist hiring quotas.

In a complaint (pdf) that was filed on Aug. 30, 2022, at the State of Washington Spokane County Superior Court, the nonprofit accused Starbucks of adopting a total of seven policies that between them required Starbucks to actively discriminate based on race in its compensation and employment decisions (including hiring, firing, and promotions), and in its contracting processes with vendors.

"Starbucks, acting through its officers and directors, crafted and publicized these policies with fanfare, preening over the supposed moral virtue their adoption signaled," NCPPR wrote in the complaint.

"The individual Defendants took these actions despite knowing of a glaring, inconvenient fact: the policies they so trumpeted flagrantly violate a wide array of state and federal civil rights laws," the group continued.

The Starbucks policies that are the subject of the lawsuit include the goal of at least 30 percent of its U.S. corporate workforce being black, indigenous, or people of color by 2025 while pegging executive pay to workforce diversity quotas.

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Before filing its lawsuit, the group, which holds around $6,000 worth of Starbucks shares, warned Starbucks that its race-based policies were illegal and that their adoption posed a litigation risk for other Starbucks shareholders. NCPPR asked Starbucks to take action to address these risks and publicly retract the policies.