Starbucks Canadian institutions will close for an afternoon next month to provide employee training on the “culture of warm welcome and belonging”.
The training follows an incident last month at a Philadelphia café, where two black men who were denied access to the facility’s washroom were arrested by the police. The Seattle company apologized publicly following the incident.
According to a spokesman for the Philadelphia police, Starbucks employees dialed 9-1-1 after the men refused to leave the café.
The company has since announced that more than 8,000 American Starbucks will be closed in the afternoon of May 29 so that nearly 175,000 employees can receive training on unconscious bias. At the time of this announcement, the company had not yet decided whether it would do the same in Canada.
On Friday, Starbucks Canada President Michael Conway sent a note stating that Canadian chain stores will be closed for part of the afternoon on June 11 for a training session on implicit bias. and promoting “conscious inclusion”.
“We believe that everyone has the right to be treated with respect […] We must never be complacent in our desire to be inclusive.”
Protests and boycott calls followed the arrests in Philadelphia.
In a video of the incident on social media, police could be seen chatting calmly with two African-Americans sitting at a table. A few minutes later, the officers handcuffed and deported them, though according to other clients, they did nothing wrong. According to Philadelphia media reports, the two men were waiting for a friend.
In the following week, the two men received an apology from the Philadelphia Police Commissioner and met with the Starbucks CEO, who described the incident as “reprehensible”.