Charlotte Garden
Charlotte Garden
Professor of Law
Julius E. Davis Professor of Law

Prof. Charlotte Garden Interviewed in Eater about Starbucks Media Policy Prohibiting Workers from Speaking to the Media

Professor Charlotte Garden was interviewed in Eater in an article about Starbucks' media policy that prohibits employees from speaking to the media about working conditions after an employee spoke to the New York Times about the company's Pride decoration policy.

Garden told Eater that regardless of how Starbucks’ corporate PR team describes the policy when asked for clarification, the way it’s written could be interpreted as applying to any and all contact with the media without exception, which could violate labor law. “It’s crystal clear that [the NLRA] includes the right to talk to other people, including members of the press, about working conditions,” she says. And while there are exceptions, those are about sharing trade secrets or other secure information. “None of that seems to be implicated [in the Strongsville store’s case]. This seems kind of a classic protected activity: Talking in the press about working conditions.” And while the NLRB under the Trump administration may have sided with the company, “I think it’s likely that the current NLRB would see things the same way, and decide that the policy violates labor law.”