Starbucks changes bathroom policy

Chairman Howard Schultz of Starbucks says he doesn't want the company to become a public bathroom but feels employees can make the "right decision a hundred percent of the time", if that choice is removed at the store level.

In terms of the policy, the first thing we want to make sure is that regardless of your station in life, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, your gender, your ethnic background - everyone is welcome at Starbucks.

Schultz said the company now has a "loose" policy of only allowing paying customers to use the bathroom, with the decision ultimately left to the store manager.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were both arrested, sparking a wave of protests outside Starbucks coffee shops across America.

The decision follows a recent incident in Philadelphia, where two black men were arrested at a Starbucks after asking to use the bathroom.


Nelson and Robinson were sitting in a Starbucks waiting for a business associate when a manger made a decision to call the police on the young men for just sitting there. "We want you to be more than", Schultz said on Thursday during a talk at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

When asked about a rule change for Canadian stores, a company spokeswoman said "we are reviewing our washroom policy as part of our 90-day review and we can share details once they are finalized".

The coffee chain announced that now anyone can use a bathroom at one of their stores, even if that person has not purchased anything there.

On May 29, all 8,000 American Starbucks will close for the afternoon for its 175,000 staff to do a racial awareness course.

Nelson and Robinson settled with Starbucks earlier this month for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education.


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