Updated February. 26, 2014 02:42
An unnoticed urine test was conducted at the Starbucks Korea headquarters in December last year. After a regular company meeting, male employees were told to stay and to take a urine test at the toilet.
The test was to sort out smokers while smoking cessation clinic staff were present at the toilet. After the test, the employees watched a smoking cessation campaign movie at an auditorium for 30 minutes while waiting for the test results. A total of 32 people turned out to be smokers.
The company explained that the test was an event to induce employees to stop smoking. Starbucks operates its some 20,000 stores worldwide, including Korea`s, as non-smoking places. It has a strict in-house non-smoking policy. The purpose is to improve health of its employees and to raise service quality as a coffee store.
However, many criticize the act of forced urine test that was made without notice. Others complain about over-restricting of employees` rights. The company said that no employee felt humiliated and that the test was conducted in a pleasant mood, adding it will continue with non-smoking policy.