Labor Law Class Action Against Starbucks, Alleging Improper Sharing Of Baristas Tips With Supervisors, Results In $105 Million Judgment And Injunctive Relief In Favor Of Members Of Class Action Suit

Mar 21, 2008 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Vikas Bajaj of the New York Times reports today on the $105 million class action ruling by a California state court against Starbucks. The class action alleged, and the San Diego Superior Court agreed, that Starbucks improperly had permitted shift supervisors to share in tips left by customers for baristas. The New York Times reports, “The case centers on the division of labor between managers and rank-and-file workers. Under California labor law and rules, tips can be pooled and shared among workers but restaurant owners or their ‘agents,’ which are typically construed to mean managers and supervisors, cannot share in the money.” Like baristas, the shift supervisors at issue in the class action served customers and make coffee, but they also acted in a managerial capacity, “directing other employees, setting schedules and doing other managerial work.” In addition to the monetary award, the class action award included an injunction that would prohibit Starbucks from permitting shift supervisors from sharing in tips in the future. Separately, Starbucks has announced its intention to appeal the judgment.

Vikas Bajaj’s article, entitled “California Court Awards Starbucks Baristas $105 Million in Tip Dispute,” may be found in Section C. of the March 21, 2008 edition of the New York Times.

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