Starbucks bosses sued by think tank over diversity push in the US

Starbucks bosses are being sued by a conservative think tank over the company's diversity policies.

In a complaint filed at the Spokane County Superior Court on Tuesday, the National Center for Public Policy Research said it objects to the diversity goals covering hiring, contracts, and executive pay.

The plaintiff, a Starbucks shareholder, said this requires decisions about race that benefit minorities and violate federal and state civil rights laws.

It "benefits (the bosses) personally to pose as virtuous advocates of 'inclusion, diversity, and equity', even as it harms the company and its owners", the NCPPR said.

Thirty-five current and former Starbucks executives and directors, including interim chief executive Howard Schultz, are among the defendants.

Seattle-based Starbucks, which has more than 17,000 stores in North America, has not commented on the case.

In 2020, it announced a push for black, indigenous and other people of colour to hold at least 30% of US corporate jobs and 40% of US retail jobs by 2025.

It also vowed to link executive pay to these efforts.

In January this year, Starbucks said it would double spending with diverse suppliers, also allocating 15% of the year's advertising budget to minority-owned and "targeted" media companies.

The NCPPR wants all of these policies axed and for the defendants or their insurers to pay damages to the company.