Posted on August 14, 2023

Starbucks Prevails in Legal Challenge to Its Diversity Policies

Theo Francis, Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2023

A federal court dismissed a lawsuit accusing Starbucks executives and directors of violating their fiduciary duty to shareholders by supporting corporate diversity policies.

The Friday morning decision in Spokane, Wash., is a setback for one of a handful of lawsuits that legal activists have filed in an effort to unwind companies’ policies aimed at increasing the proportion of women and members of racial or ethnic minority groups in their workforces and contracting corps.

“We’re pleased with this decision given we very much disputed the plaintiff’s claims,” a Starbucks spokeswoman said.

National Center for Public Policy Research, which filed the lawsuit as the owner of a few dozen Starbucks shares, must decide whether to appeal the order or abandon its case.

Scott Shepard, executive director of the group’s Free Enterprise Project, said the group would wait for the judge’s written order before deciding. “We will continue to pursue relief from illegal discrimination on behalf of shareholders and employees,” he said.