Starbucks is "actively looking" at solutions to address safety concerns raised by employees, including installing needle-disposal boxes to restrooms in select markets.
Which restrooms get the boxes, also known as "sharps" boxes, will be made on a store-by-store basis, according to a statement from the company.
In Seattle, where Starbucks is headquartered, stores already have sharps boxes installed in restrooms, according to a company spokesperson.
"“These societal issues affect us all and can sometimes place our partners (employees) in scary situations, which is why we have protocols and resources in place to ensure our partners are out of harm’s way," a company spokesperson said. "I can’t emphasize enough that if our partners are ever in a position where they don’t feel comfortable completing a task, they are empowered to remove themselves from the situation and alert their manager. As we always do, we are constantly evaluating our processes and listening to partner feedback of ways we can be better.”
According to Business Insider, the move comes after Starbucks employees complained of finding discarded needles.
A petition on coworker.org that gathered more than 3,700 signatures by Thursday calls for adding needle-disposal boxes in "high-risk bathrooms." The petition states employees are at risk of being poked - or do get poked - by needles, "even when following 'protocol' of using gloves and tongs to dispose of used needles left in bathrooms, tampon disposal boxes, and diaper changing stations."