Get the Facts: Poplar & Highland Ruling

Updated on September 7, 2022

Late yesterday the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated its prior administrative stay and denied Starbucks’ motion to stay a  federal district court judge’s recent ruling that all seven of the former partners at the Poplar & Highland store should be offered reinstatement.  While we strongly disagree with the district court’s order to reinstate partners and believe that order should be stayed while our appeal of the merits is pending with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, we will of course comply with the Sixth Circuit’s order.

We filed the appeal because the facts are clear: these individuals violated numerous policies and failed to maintain a secure work environment and safety standards. Interest in a union does not exempt partners from following policies that are in place to protect partners, our customers and the communities we serve. 

We are concerned that this ruling sends mixed messages to our partners about appropriate behavior in the workplace and sets a worrisome precedent for employers everywhere who need to be able to make personnel decisions based on their established policies and protocols. 

It’s also unfortunate that this forced reinstatement of former partners could negatively affect the current team’s employment, hours and schedules and would be completely unfair to those partners who followed our policies and didn’t leave the store unlocked, host a gathering in the store after hours or open the store safe without authorization.

As we have said throughout, we fully respect our partners’ right to organize and will bargain in good faith guided by our principles. Our decisions will continue to remain grounded in our policies, which we believe keep our partners and stores safe, and in upholding Our Mission and Values.

Find more information at Partner and Customer Experience Expectations, Correcting the Misinformation about Unlawful Activities.



Posted on August 18, 2022

Today, a Tennessee judge ruled that all seven of the former partners at the Poplar & Highland store should be reinstated.  We strongly disagree with the judge’s ruling in this case.

These individuals violated numerous policies and failed to maintain a secure work environment and safety standards. Interest in a union does not exempt partners from following policies that are in place to protect partners, our customers and the communities we serve.

We plan to appeal the decision and request a stay of the order pending appeal, which means that we want the ruling to be reviewed and considered by an appeals court. This could pause the reinstatement until after the review is completed.

As we have said throughout, we will respect the unionizing process and will bargain in good faith guided by our principles. Our decisions will continue to remain grounded in our policies, which we believe keep our partners and stores safe, and in upholding Our Mission and Values.