Starbucks changes bathroom policy amid arrest backlash

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(WAND) – Starbucks says customers no longer have to pay to use its restrooms.

The policy change came in response to an April 12 incident captured on camera, which shows two black men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, getting arrested as they waited for a business partner to meet them in the store. A manager called police after the two were denied bathroom access and sat down without buying anything.

The following social media firestorm prompted Starbucks to announce an open bathroom policy. Chairman Howard Schultz told NBC Philadelphia the change will help managers always make the right decision when customers are involved by removing the need to make it. Schultz says the company does not want customers to feel they can't use a bathroom because they're perceived as “less than” another person.

Starbucks is also planning diversity training, which is scheduled for the afternoon of May 29 across over 8,000 U.S. Starbucks stores.

Each new Starbucks policy has to go through a 90-day review, NBC Philadelphia reports. Starbucks says it is now telling its employees to do everything they can to make all customers feel welcome.

Robinson and Nelson settled with the city of Philadelphia for the creation of a $200,000 program to help students learn about business, along with a symbolic gesture of $1 for each of them. 

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