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STARBUCKS ACCUSED OF RACE AND SEX DISCRIMINATION BY FORMER EMPLOYEES

 CHICAGO, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal lawsuit will be filed today against Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ-NMS: SBUX) by two former employees, who accuse the national coffee company with more than two dozen stores in the Chicago area of race, age and sex discrimination.
 At 10 a.m., PDT, today (Wednesday, Dec. 8), at the Dirksen Building, 219 S. Dearborn, attorney Edward T. Stein will join his clients, Traeci Coleman, former Midwest regional coordinator, and Lynn Kowats, former regional manager for human resources, to announce the filing of their employee discrimination suits against Starbucks.
 "What is particularly disturbing about this case is the way Starbucks has successfully manufactured an image that it is a company which promotes equality and progressive ideas," said Stein. "The reality, however, is that it is still in the Stone Age."
 The lawsuit alleges the following:
 Coleman, a female African-American who was hired by Starbucks in April 1988, had previously been rated superior in her job performance, promoted four times and received four merit raises during her tenure at Starbucks. It was only after Stuart Fields was hired as her direct supervisor in September 1991, and told her he would like to call her "Toby, you know Kunta Kinte's baby" -- a reference to the television series "Roots" -- that her work performance began to deteriorate. Fields continued to ostracize Coleman and her work, and in February 1992 she was terminated.
 Kowats, a white female over 40 who witnessed the "Toby" episode and whose responsibilities included handling discrimination issues in the workplace, interceded for Coleman. After the incident, Fields began directing discriminatory comments and actions to Kowats about her age, including goading her about her slow pace down stairs by asking if they were too much for her and telling her he enlarged the type of a document on photocopy machine because of her age. Kowats was fired in March 1992.
 The lawsuit also alleges that the discriminatory atmosphere and environment at Starbucks was perpetuated, but not created by Fields. It says that previous high-ranking officials also made blatant racial and sex discrimination remarks that were regularly ignored by management.
 Starbucks Corp. is based in Seattle and its shareholder equity exceeded $75,000,000 as of fiscal year 1992. The complaints are being brought against Starbucks Corp. and Stuart Fields, regional vice president.
 -0- 12/8/93
 /CONTACT: Edward T. Stein, Law Office, 312-220-0600; or Jessica Copen, 312-528-8619, media strategist for Law Office/
 (SBUX)


CO: Starbucks Corp. ST: Washington IN: REA SU:

PS -- NY036 -- 1693 12/08/93 10:39 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 8, 1993
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