Court Will Decide Which Starbucks Employees Can Share Tips

by Christopher Freeburn | May 31, 2013 10:57 am

Starbucks Coffee[1]A legal battle is being waged over which Starbucks (SBUX[2]) employees should receive a share of customer tips[3].

The company says that shift supervisors, who are hourly workers, should get a percentage of tips. Assistant managers claim that they should get a share of tips, too, but Starbucks says that as salaried workers, they are not entitled to tip money. The coffee chain’s baristas oppose sharing tips with both groups, Restaurant News notes.

The matter is being contested in two lawsuits currently before the New York Court of Appeals. New York labor regulations prevent managers or their agents from receiving a share in tips. In one suit, the court must decide whether shift supervisors act as managers. In the other, assistant managers are claiming a share of tips.

Starbucks notes that its shift supervisors perform mostly the same functions as its baristas, interacting with the public, and thus should share tips. The company’s shift supervisors in California are granted a share of tips.

The company’s baristas, however, have challenged the policy, which reduces the amount of tip money distributed amongst baristas.

Rulings are expected later this summer.

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