When a patron storms out of a store over perceived mistreatment, do not confuse the lack of legal grounds for a discrimination claim with a free pass on the far greater reputational risks that outweigh the cost of any litigation.

In April 2018, at a Philadelphia Starbucks, police arrested two men of color waiting for a third participant before beginning a business meeting. A Starbucks employee contacted police after concluding that the men had not purchased anything. Another patron captured the arrest on video and posted it on Twitter where it soon received more than 200,000 likes. Although it is unknown whether the men initiated any subsequent court action, they eventually settled with Starbucks (for an undetermined amount) and the city of Philadelphia (for $1 each and the promise of a $200,000 investment in a program for entrepreneurs).

To placate protesters and tamp down the backlash, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 locations one May afternoon for diversity training. Currently, the company is facing a race discrimination lawsuit filed by a Caucasian regional manager who claims she was terminated after refusing to discipline another Caucasian employee accused of discrimination in the aftermath of the event.

Several months later, in December,


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Bethany Lukitsch of McGuireWoods runs down what the new regulations mean for companies based in California and beyond.

CCBJ: The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) takes effect January 1, placing new data protection and user requirements on businesses that collect or sell consumers’ personal information. What do the new regulations mean for companies doing business in California?

Bethany Gayle Lukitsch: It’s important to keep in mind that this statute doesn’t just affect companies that are physically present in California but a much broader, more universal group of companies. In fact, any company that touches or does business with a California consumer is likely going to be covered by the act. The act has broad definitions and will have significant impact on the way companies in the United States and even foreign companies do business with California residents. If companies haven’t started to pay attention to the CCPA and what it means for their business, they need to immediately turn their attention and do so.

Remarks as recent as late September from the California attorney general’s office suggest they are ramping up their enforcement team. While they are not able bring enforcement actions until summer of next year, they have said


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