African-American Customer Sues Starbucks For Racially Biased Service

Forthright Law, P.C. is representing Plaintiff, Angela Jenkins.


An African-American woman and twenty-eight year San Francisco resident served Starbucks Corporation with a Civil Rights Lawsuit today. Filed in the San Francisco Superior Court, the suit alleges that Starbucks not only treats its Caucasian customers more favorably than African-American customers but also calls local law enforcement to surveil and intimidate African-American women who are peacefully requesting equal treatment and equal service.

Plaintiff, Angela Jenkins, is a long-time customer of Starbucks. In February of 2018, Ms. Jenkins ordered food, but prior to serving her order, Starbucks staff made her wait longer than other, non- African-American customers to be served their food, which was brought out to them like table service. When Ms. Jenkins brought it to the attention of staff that others were being served before her, Starbucks staff and screamed at and berated Ms. Jenkins, causing her shame, embarrassment, and humiliation in front of other customers. Starbucks’ team leads failed to intervene and correct the employee’s behavior.

At several of the chain’s San Francisco locations, Starbucks employees have requested that Ms. Jenkins leave and have refused her access to restroom facilities, despite her being a paying customer. Starbucks has even called the police after Ms. Jenkins simply requested to use the restroom after purchasing coffee. After many attempts to engage with Starbucks management and corporate headquarters to address and correct the culture of mistreatment African-Americans at Starbucks to no avail, Ms. Jenkins has now served an Unruh Civil Rights Complaint on Starbucks.

The Unruh Civil Rights Act requires that all public accommodations, facilities, privileges, and services be provided free from racial discrimination. The lawsuit seeks an injunction mandating Starbucks to take affirmative steps to root out the culture of discrimination, and damages provided for in the Act, including treble damages, attorney’s fees, and injunctive relief, requiring Starbucks to take corrective action to root out the institutional bias against African-Americans.

Forthright Law P.C. is a preeminent plaintiff-side Civil Rights and employment litigation firm in San Francisco that specializes in civil rights, harassment, and retaliation cases.