In 2018, coffee giant Starbucks hired the law firm of former Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a company-wide “civil rights audit” amid backlash claiming that the company was racist.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the decision was triggered by an incident in which a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia ordered two black men to leave after they tried to use the restroom despite not being paying customers. When the men became belligerent and refused to leave, the police were called and the men were arrested.
After backlash from Black Lives Matter and other far-left groups, the company announced that it would begin a “multiphase effort” to become “more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.” One of the phases of this process was to conduct several “civil rights assessments,” and for this the company hired the law firm Covington & Burling, a Washington D.C.-based law firm run by Holder, the former Attorney General under the Obama Administration.
Holder issued a final report in 2021 detailing the various measures Starbucks had turned to in order to promote “equity,” which included satisfying spending goals for “diverse suppliers,” and starting a mentorship program “BIPOC” staff (black, indigenous, people of color), the latter of which Holder directly encouraged the company to expand upon.
However, Starbucks was sued just one year later over the very same policies that Holder had recommended. The lawsuit was filed in August by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative nonprofit and Starbucks shareholder, which argues that these new race-based policies violate non-discrimination laws while also harming the company’s fiduciary duties to shareholders.
Despite the legal backlash, Holder and Covington have continued to provide similar advice on civil rights policies for a number of prominent companies, including BlackRock, Verizon, and CitiGroup. Many large corporations have increasingly turned to artificially boosting the number of minorities among their workforce and c-suites, in the name of increased “diversity.” Corporate efforts to increase diversity are part of broader agendas to impose left-wing policies, with two of the most prominent movements being DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance).
Such race-based policies are under greater scrutiny than ever before, in the wake of two landmark cases from the Supreme Court which ultimately abolished the practice of “affirmative action” in public universities, which would see colleges admit applicants based solely on their race rather than their merits.