On Saturday, Starbucks sent a letter to all employees, updating their bathroom store policy. Previously, bathroom use was regulated by each store manager. Now, a company-wide policy removes individual discretion and says that anyone can use the bathroom.
This updated policy follows a national outrage that occurred back in April, when two men of color were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks. One had asked to use the bathroom, however they were denied access because neither men had made a purchase.
After they continued to sit in the cafe without making a purchase, the manager on shift called the police, who proceeded to arrest both men.
Now, in their letter to all Starbucks employees, the coffee company states, “any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer.”
By redefining what it means to be a customer, Starbucks also makes it possible for anyone to use the bathroom.
Howard Schultz, the executive chairman of Starbucks, weighed in saying, “We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision 100% of the time and give people the key, because we don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to use the bathroom.”
This policy change comes just a week before the company is set to close over 8,000 nationwide stores in order to offer employees anti-bias training.