Starbucks to close over 8000 stores for employee anti-bias training

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Starbucks is closing 8,000 company-owned US stores at around 2 pm local time on Tuesday as a first step in training 175,000 employees on racial tolerance.

Starbucks is closing its stores to conduct the training after the arrests of two black men in Philadelphia last month at one of its stores. The session will take place in stores and offices and about 8,000 company-owned stores will close for the event. Many of the Starbucks locations in airports, on college and private business campuses and within grocery and other retail stores will remain open for regular hours Tuesday.

Each store will receive a tool kit which will allow for partners to learn together in small self-guided groups. Schultz, CEO Kevin Johnson and musician and activist Common will serve as virtual guides.

Calvin Lai, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University, also says anti-bias training can sometimes backfire.

A store manager called the police because the two men were sitting in the store without placing an order.

Nelson immediately asked to use the restroom when they walked in, he said, but was informed it was for paying customers only.

This will mark only the second time that Starbucks has closed all locations for training efforts.

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

The company says employees going through the training will "move into a real and honest exploration of bias". "We've made it clear that we won't be a rubber stamp to validate their programming", McGhee said.

Starbucks apologized for the incident, which sparked protests, online outrage, and calls for both clarifications of the chain's policies and for new training for its employees. If customers are disruptive, employees have been advised to step in. Starbucks is asking customers to behave in a way that "maintains a warm and welcoming environment".

The company offered specific guidelines in a document shared with employees.

In the training, Starbucks' employees will use a Team Guidebook to follow a sequence of videos, including one that features the rapper Common discussing what he says is a life skill: how to make other people feel welcome. If a Starbucks employee thinks the situation isn't safe, he or she should call the police.

Starbucks said in a statement that the training content will be shared with these stores "so they may have the option to make it available to their employees at a later date".