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Starbucks Commitment to Inclusion

Lucy Helm – Starbucks evp, general counsel and secretary, Law & Corporate Affairs and chair of the Starbucks Inclusion Council – shared the following letter with all partners (employees) on May 9, 2016.


Dear partners,

Across the U.S., we are witnessing the introduction of local and state legislation condoning discriminatory treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. As partners, we share the same concerns about the impact this legislation has on the lives of our fellow partners and our customers. 

At Starbucks, our Mission and Values are at the heart of everything we do. We treat each other with respect and dignity, and we embrace diversity and inclusion in order to create a place where each of us can be ourselves. Discrimination of any kind has no place in our company. As reflected in our Global Human Rights Statement, "Starbucks is committed to support and uphold the provision of basic human rights and to eliminate discriminatory practices."

Consistent with our Mission and Values, and our long-standing policies and principles, Starbucks opposes any legislation or other similar policy initiatives at the municipal, state or national level that would have a discriminatory impact. This includes recent legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community, as stated in a recent letter released by the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina and signed by numerous CEOs, including Howard Schultz. In our stores, we continue to welcome partners and customers to use Starbucks facilities that correspond to their gender identity. In addition, we are looking into opportunities to have more gender-neutral signage in our restrooms.

We have always believed in equal treatment of all individuals and have a long history and commitment to our LGBT partners, including those who are transgender or transitioning. 

  • For more than 20 years, we've offered health insurance coverage to partners in lesbian and gay relationships. 
  • More recently, we broadened our health care coverage to include gender reassignment surgery and believe this level of accessibility to health care is a leading practice that all employers and providers should offer.
  • For nearly a decade, our Workplace Gender Transition Guidelines have supported partners who are transgender or considering transitioning. 
  • In order to assist transitioning partners in self-identification, we updated our technology systems to ensure that documentation in stores reflects a partner's "known as" name.

From our very earliest days, we have strived to create a company and culture that treats everyone – partners and customers alike – with respect and dignity. We will continue to champion these values and to stand for our partners, our customers and our communities.

With respect,

Lucy Helm


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