A white Starbucks manager who was fired after two black men were refused access to a Philadelphia store bathroom was awarded $2.7 million to cover the legal fees associated with her wrongful termination lawsuit, which already awarded her $25 million.
In an order filed in New Jersey federal court on Wednesday, a judge said Starbucks would has to pay Shannon Phillips — a regional manager who oversaw several Starbucks locations across New Jersey and Pennsylvania — $2.7 million.
The court filing is the latest in Phillips’ case with the coffeehouse chain, which began back in 2018 when Phillips claims she was used as a “scapegoat” as Starbucks found itself as the center of a racial firestorm.
The saga unfolded when an employee at Starbucks’ Rittenhouse Square location in Philadelphia called 911 on April 12, 2018, after two black men — Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson — were denied access to the bathroom because they weren’t paying customers.
Nelson and Robinson then refused to leave, claiming they simply sat at a table waiting for a potential real estate business partner to arrive.
When the police arrived, the men were arrested for trespassing.
Phillips was not involved in the arrests, according to the lawsuit first filed in 2019, and she fired a month after the ordeal.
Starbucks vaguely said that the reason for termination after a 13-year tenure at the company was that “the situation is not recoverable.”
Starbucks “took steps to punish white employees who had not been involved in the arrests, but who worked in and around the city of Philadelphia, in an effort to convince the community that it had properly responded to the incident,” the complaint said.
It was later revealed during a six-day trial that another manager of the Philly store, who is black, kept his job — a move Phillips’ attorney, Laura Mattiacci, told jurors was because of his skin color.
Phillips was awarded $25.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages following the trial, and Starbucks is now on the hook for another $2.7 million, meaning the former regional manager has received a total of nearly $30 million for being cut loose by the coffee giant.
About $2.6 million of the sum will cover Phillips’ back and front pay damages, the court papers said, which is typical in wrongful termination cases where workers cannot be rehired by a company to receive wages.
The remaining $66,000 is intended to cover her tax gross up damages, which are intended offset the taxes Phillips will have to pay on the award.
The seven-figure total is part of a “court-determined economic loss and attorneys’ fee award,” US District Court Judge Joel Slomsky wrote in the decision.
Starbucks has since filed an opposition to the latest order that requires them to dish out another $2.7 million, arguing that Mattiacci’s legal fees for claiming to work nearly 400 hours on this case are “excessive.”
Starbucks declined to comment on the recent court filings, and The Post has reached out to Mattiacci for comment.
As of August 2018, Phillips has been working as the regional director of sales for furniture giant Raymour & Flanigan, according to her LinkedIn.
The coffee chain — which operates over 16,000 locations nationwide — has changed its policies following the PR nightmare that ensued from the viral 2018 arrests.
After temporarily shutting down 8,000 outposts across the US to put about 175,000 staffers through anti-bias training.
It also amended its policy to allow people to use Starbucks’ restrooms and hang out in the store regardless of whether or not they are paying customers.
Meanwhile, Nelson and Robinson — who were both 23 at the time of their unjust arrest — have since reached a settlement with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum and an offer of free college tuition to complete bachelor’s degrees through an online program with Arizona State University that was created four years ago for Starbucks employees.
In a separate deal, they got a symbolic $1 each from the City of Philadelphia as well as promise from officials to establish a $200,000 public high school program for young entrepreneurs.