Some employees of Starbucks in New Jersey have been receiving severance packages worth more than $10,000, a new article from Business Insider has found.
The Starbucks employee who was asked to take part in the article had to sign a confidentiality agreement after a whistleblower complained about being forced to sign an agreement that said she could not discuss her severance.
The whistleblower, who was not identified, told Business Insider she was paid $7,500 in January 2016 to resign from her job.
The following month, she was terminated from her position, with Starbucks saying it was a result of “sustained” employee misconduct.
Starbucks has not responded to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Employees who were paid severance during the Starbucks “retention” period have been entitled to a $5,000 bonus, as well as a bonus for having a job in the company for one year.
Starbucks also offered a $2,500 bonus to employees who worked on an internship for the company in 2018.
“We encourage our team to pursue opportunities that meet their unique strengths and experience,” Starbucks wrote in a statement.
“In the past, our company has also extended generous benefits to those who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities.
This is not the case with our recent performance-related action.”
Starbucks said it will pay out the bonuses to all current and former employees who received severance payments.
The company also said it has created a new severance and severance-related compensation program.
Starbucks’ severance program was created in 2013, when the company hired a compensation expert to review the performance of all of its employees.
Starbucks said in 2016 it hired another expert to conduct an independent review of all severance payouts.
A Starbucks spokesperson told Business Independent that the severance is a “compensation program that does not provide any specific benefits to the employee,” adding that “most of the benefits are contingent upon continued employment at the company.”
“This program is designed to help Starbucks employees achieve a competitive wage rate, provide incentives for career progression, and to reward the highest-performing employees with bonuses,” the spokesperson said.
“The employee who is awarded a severance will receive the severances and any applicable performance bonuses, as long as the employee remains with Starbucks for at least 12 months after the termination.”
Starbucks previously announced it was investigating two severance programs, but did not provide specifics about what prompted the investigations.
The New York Times reported on the whistleblower’s complaint, which was published in the Washington Post.