Starbucks Tips

Almost every Starbuck store in the country has the traditional Jar for leaving tips. The Jar is located just next to the cashier allowing all customers to place their tips and loose change inside. For years, Starbucks has had a policy that these tips which were meant for the workers (Baristas) to be shared with the shift supervisors. And this is where the problem began.

Well, now this Starbuck’s policy has been challenged by one of its employees. The Baristas claim that they should not share the tips with the supervisors and this has led to the first class action law suit in California. The employees believe that they work just as hard and should not share the tips with the supervisors. And fortunately for the workers, the California State labor laws have sided with the baristas. The law says that it is legal for employers to implement tip pools whereby employees are required to share tips, but the recipients of the pool share cannot be owners, managers or supervisors.

And just recently, a judge in California ruled that Starbucks owes its baristas close to $100 million in tips.

Starbucks has changed this policy of tip sharing and no longer enforces the tip to be shared with shift supervisors but this may not be the end of the story. Why Starbucks wanted the tips to be shared among the supervisors remains a mystery. The lawyers handling the cases for the plaintiffs felt that Starbucks was subsidizing its labor costs for shift supervisors by diverting money from the tip pool to shift supervisors instead of willing to pay them from their own pocket.

This California ruling has sent a message to all employers who have similar tip sharing polices. For Starbucks, this headache has come at a time where the company is trying to survive the current economic crises. And the possibility of further class action law suits has just started. Massachusetts is next and who know how many may follow.