Random Thoughts Again

psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:56 am

I am also going to assume that if these were 2 white men they would still be sitting at the shop.

The flip side of that is if two white men were asked to leave for not purchasing anything, it wouldn't become a national story.

The lack of political awareness on the part of the manager is astonishing. How she did not realize that calling the police was going to blow up in her face is totally beyond me. Particularly in an era in which everyone has a video camera in their pocket. She must have been raised in a cave.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:58 am

My understanding is the cops can exercise discretion but, as a matter of policy, if a store owner calls and asks them to remove someone from the premises then they come and do that. It's difficult for the cops to show up and assess the whole situation, who is right and wrong, etc. In this case, other patrons came and told the cops this was ridiculous but I'm not sure what they were supposed to do. If you're a cop and you're responding to a 911 call, do you then start taking a poll of the other customers to see if they people should be tossed or not? I'm a little sympathetic to the cops here because they were responding to something, they didn't cause the incident, and they probably didn't feel they had a ton of options. They asked the men to leave, the men refused, and they got cuffed. I think cuffing them and arresting them is over-the-top, and it seems they escalated to that point a little quickly - and maybe that needs to be looked at - but, generally, I think the cops are not at fault here.

The problem is that Starbucks had a bunch of white customers who apparently did the exact same thing and then singled out two black men and called the cops on them. Once the cops showed up, the situation was already in play. You can be upset with how the cops responded, I guess, but I don't think they were the primary cause of the problem.

The manager caused this. She screwed up and it sure sounds like there was discrimination involved here. My original point to this was what else do people expect out of Starbucks, though. They apologized, they issued a statement, they offered to meet with the two men, they have a long track record as company of NOT being this way, they apparently fired the woman - so what else do they need to do? What satisfies the outrage?

Btw, there is a better way to enforce their policy. There is a small coffee shop outside the Path station at Newport Pavonia in Jersey City. They don't give out their bathroom code to anyone. You need to use the bathroom, they tell you the code is on the bottom of your receipt. Doesn't matter if you are white, black, purple, whatever ... you have a receipt you have their code. They don't tell anyone what it is. And, if you have the code, they don't bug you. I doubt they change it and I'm sure there are vagrants who have it, but that is how they operate and it seems to work.
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sameoldlama
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby sameoldlama » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:04 am

The issue isn't Starbucks has a policy stating restrooms are for customers only / no loitering or that they asked someone to leave the premises - if the witness accounts are accurate they did not apply that policy uniformly. Per the one link they had allowed a person to access the restroom without making a purchase (and if I read correctly, a code is needed to enter restroom - clearly because they are trying to avoid homeless / drug users from using facility - and that code appears on receipts) - this shows an employee made an overt act to override the policy. A second witness indicated they had been seated in the Starbucks for an extended period of time without making a purchase and had not been asked to leave.

What the lawyer for these men will assert - you did not enforce your policy uniformly and the reason you enforced it against my clients was due to race - and that is discrimination against a protected class.
If the other patrons who were not denied access despite not being in compliance with Starbucks policy were not black these men have at least a prima facie case. If they can uncover other people who feel they were treated differently based on race they can start doing math with a lot of zeros behind a non-zero integer.

Best case for Starbucks would be if the customers who were not subjected to the policy had it occur when the manager was not present - then they can argue that employee failed to implement policy while the manager (who presumably only witnesses the men who entered later) was implementing policy and has done so uniformly. If Starbucks can find people (and particularly white people) who say they were denied bathroom access or asked to purchase product or leave store by that manager they have a case. The only other scenario I can see beneficial to them would be if - when the men were told restroom were for customers only - they became threatening or disruptive and no witness accounts seem to support that occurred.

Not that it happens these days but it would seem to me when the third party the men said they were waiting for showed up you would think the police could appeal to Starbucks to serve them (and if you're Starbucks you give them their order free) people exchange some "I'm sorry" .. "Apology accepted", cops leave and as long as people can manage to stay of social media this becomes a non-event.
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PSUgrower
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby PSUgrower » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:09 am

psu_dad wrote:I am also going to assume that if these were 2 white men they would still be sitting at the shop.

The flip side of that is if two white men were asked to leave for not purchasing anything, it wouldn't become a national story.

The lack of political awareness on the part of the manager is astonishing. How she did not realize that calling the police was going to blow up in her face is totally beyond me. Particularly in an era in which everyone has a video camera in their pocket. She must have been raised in a cave.

Again, from what I gather, the manager did not tell the men to buy something or get out. She told them they could not use the bathroom unless they bought something. They sat down and she called police. She should have told them to buy something or she would call the police to escort them out.

I read the same thing that there were white people there who did not purchase anything and they were not thrown out. Good luck Starbucks!

psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:24 am

Best case for Starbucks would be if the customers who were not subjected to the policy had it occur when the manager was not present - then they can argue that employee failed to implement policy while the manager (who presumably only witnesses the men who entered later) was implementing policy and has done so uniformly. If Starbucks can find people (and particularly white people) who say they were denied bathroom access or asked to purchase product or leave store by that manager they have a case. The only other scenario I can see beneficial to them would be if - when the men were told restroom were for customers only - they became threatening or disruptive and no witness accounts seem to support that occurred.

Even if they could construct a defense, I seriously doubt Starbucks is going to fight this. All they've done so far is engage in world-class groveling and self-flagellation. They're probably just going to write some very large checks and hope this goes away.
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sameoldlama
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby sameoldlama » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:34 am

Well Starbucks better find the fact out - if the manager can prove they uniformly applied the policy as they were trained to do and got fired for it then Starbucks has a problem.

Again - if a separate employee allowed people to violate the policy and the manager did not witness it and she then enters and applies it - and can prove she has done so uniformly to all races - Starbucks might be writing one more check.

But as others state - this is 2018 and it seems cooler heads could not prevail. Simple solution - guys don't want to order because they are waiting for 3rd party but want to use restroom which requires code that appears on receipt - have them order, don't make their order until 3rd party arrives - they have receipt, they can use restroom, they get order at same time as their late friend.

Solve a problem people instead of aggravating one.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:56 am

Well Starbucks better find the fact out - if the manager can prove they uniformly applied the policy as they were trained to do and got fired for it then Starbucks has a problem.

Given there are members of the public already giving public testimonials that the rules were not applies this way to them at the exact same time it was being applied to these two men, I think Starbucks is safe on that account. Their larger problem is if this turns out to be a pattern of behavior and not at just this one location. A former employee who sues them for wrongful termination - even if she prevails in court - means nothing. That won't make page 15 of any newspaper. But, an account that several locations were enforcing the rules against minorities while white customers hung out and used the restrooms without ordering anything will sink them. And, that is what I suspect they are trying to figure out right now - is this a one-off incident or one-off location or is this happening elsewhere.

If I had to put money on it, I'd bet that there are now going to be more people coming out and saying they were discriminated at a Starbucks. It may be true, it may not be, but I will be surprised if this one incident is the end of it.
Alex Cora sucks. Mickey Callaway sucks. Baseball sucks. Everything and everyone just sucks. Is it football season yet?

sameoldlama
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby sameoldlama » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:29 am

If the other patrons say the same manager who refused these men bathroom access and asked them to leave was the same employee who gave another person bathroom access and had been present the whole time (vs in a back office) Starbucks and the manager are toast. At my work hourly employees are restricted as to where they can take breaks / areas they can access during their shift. Primarily they are not allowed to be hanging out in their cars - if a supervisor sees them in a restricted area they are - by policy - to instruct them to go to an authorized area and notify their direct supervisors - not all supervisors complied with the policy. Thus a given employee can claim bias if they are disciplined - and if that employee is of a protected class they can speculate that is the reason they were "singled out".

If you don't rigorously enforce your policy you don't have a policy.

I'd think Starbucks has video cameras on the inside of the store - if this manager has been uniformly been applying the policy they should be able to produce video. If I'm the plaintiff's attorney and I think this is a pattern I'm asking for that video showing they don't.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:37 am

If the other patrons say the same manager who refused these men bathroom access and asked them to leave was the same employee who gave another person bathroom access and had been present the whole time (vs in a back office) Starbucks and the manager are toast.

My understanding is people who were there at the time the whole thing happened have come out and said they hadn't ordered anything and were given the restroom code. I am fairly certain one witness said she was treated completely opposite of what these two men experienced at the exact same time period.

As to your comment about what a plaintiffs attorney may do, it won't come to that. Starbucks isn't going to go through discovery. They will settle any litigation and get it out of the news cycle as quickly as they can.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:43 am

If Starbucks can limit the damage to this one incident, I don't see any way that they'll try to mount a defense. I think they'll just cave and use $$$ to make this go away. If it spins out of control and becomes another #MeToo movement, that's another matter. At that point, their survival will be at stake.
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