Incident 10: Kronos Scheduling Algorithm Allegedly Caused Financial Issues for Starbucks Employees

Description: Kronos’s scheduling algorithm and its use by Starbucks managers allegedly negatively impacted financial and scheduling stability for Starbucks employees, which disadvantaged wage workers.


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Alleged: Kronos developed an AI system deployed by Starbucks, which harmed Starbucks employees.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam

CSETv1 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Harm Distribution Basis


Sector of Deployment

accommodation and food service activities

CSETv0 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

The staff scheduling tool used by Starbucks has led to staff working hours volatile and erratic schedules. Some store managers use a scheduling software, Kronos, to optimize scheduling and cut labor costs, however Starbucks refuses to accept or deny using Kronos.

Short Description

Issues with Starbucks worker's schedules may be linked to a staffing software, Kronos.



Harm Type

Psychological harm



Named Entities

Starbucks, Kronos

Technology Purveyor


Beginning Date


Ending Date


Near Miss




Lives Lost


Infrastructure Sectors

Food and agriculture

GMF Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Known AI Goal

Market Forecasting, Scheduling

Potential AI Technology

Regression, Diverse Data

Known AI Technical Failure


Potential AI Technical Failure

Tuning Issues, Misconfigured Aggregation

Working Anything but 9 to 5 · 2014

SAN DIEGO — In a typical last-minute scramble, Jannette Navarro, a 22-year-old Starbucks barista and single mother, scraped together a plan for surviving the month of July without setting off family or financial disaster.

In contrast to the…

For some Starbucks workers, job leaves bitter taste · 2014

Liberte Locke, a 32-year-old "barista" at a Starbucks (SBUX) in New York City, is fed up.

"Starbucks' attitude is that there's always someone else who can do the job," she said in running through her complaints about life at the java giant.…

After A Wave Of Bad Press, This Controversial Software Company Is Making Changes · 2015

In April, the New York attorney general's office launched an investigation into the scheduling practices of 13 national retail chains, distributing a letter to the Gap, Target, J.C. Penney, and 10 other companies. The letter asked, among ot…

Kronos shift scheduling software a grind for Starbucks worker · 2015

Caitlin O'Reilly-Green, a barista at an Atlanta Starbucks, says a manager blames her erratic hours on the staff scheduling software used by the giant coffee chain.

"When you try to bring up issues with it, they just kind of blame it on the … · 2015

A 2015 nationwide survey of Starbucks workers reveals that the company is not living up to its commitment to provide predictable, sustainable schedules to its workforce. Starbucks’ frontline employees bear the brunt of the management impera…

​Is Starbucks shortchanging its baristas? · 2015

For Starbucks (SBUX) barista Kylei Weisse, working at the coffee chain helps him secure health insurance and some extra money while he studies at Georgia Perimeter College. What it doesn't provide is the kind of stable schedule that the com…

Starbucks vows to do more to ease barista schedules · 2015

An internal memo from a Starbucks executive this week urged store managers to "go the extra mile" to improve workers' schedules.

The letter was distributed on Tuesday and refers to a New York Times story that was set to be published the fol… · 2015

On Tuesday, I wrote about Starbucks baristas and other food service workers who marched downtown at sunrise to call for fair scheduling from their employers. Workers said they often get little notice of when they're scheduled to work and th…

How Starbucks started taking their schedules seriously…and why you should too · 2016

The best schedules deliver two things; they ensure a business maximises profit while at the same time keeping the workforce happy and motivated.

At first glance, these two outcomes seem to be coming from opposite sides of the spectrum. To m…

The Seattle Times: Starbucks says its scheduling practices have improved · 2016

Originally published on Seattle Times on June 4, 2016 at 8:00 am

The company took a lot of heat in 2014 when The New York Times described scheduling practices that made some employees miserable. But the coffee giant says its policies and so…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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