Red Deer’s Starbucks locations closed Monday afternoon

Employees are undertaking race, bias and inclusion training

Starbucks locations in Red Deer were closed Monday afternoon so employees could participate in race, bias and inclusion training.

In late May, 8,000 U.S. locations were shut for an afternoon for similar training sessions after two black men who were denied to use the washroom in a Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia in April.

The company has since apologized for the arrest and implemented the training for employees in all its stores.

One Red Deer resident, who goes to the coffee shop in Clearview said the training isn’t needed in Canada, but welcomed the proactive approach by the company.

Mike Maher said Canada has always been a multicultural country and he has never seen someone being excluded in coffee shops or restaurants.

“It’s never been a big of an issue (here) as it is in the states,” said Maher.

He agreed training employees is an important step in maintaining a professional work environment.

“Because it can just be the slightest slip up where you say something that can be taken as a bias (statement),” he added.

In a letter to customers, Starbucks Canada president Michael Conway says the training will involve sharing experiences, listening to experts, reflecting on the realities of bias in society and talking about how employees can create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong.

Conway calls the incident “reprehensible” and says the training isn’t just about what happened in Philadelphia, but about humanity and making sure all customers feel safe and welcome.

With files from Canadian Press


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