New York Starbucks baristas sue supervisors for taking from the tip jar

No food service employee is immune to the end-of-shift scramble for nickels and dimes left in the tip jar. But a group of Starbucks baristas in New York are arguing that shift supervisors shouldn’t be putting their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak.

Two lawsuits were filed; one by the baristas and one by the assistant managers. Both wanted to ensure a cut of the goods. “This is not a fight between baristas and shift supervisors,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, attorney for the baristas. “It’s a fight between baristas and Starbucks . . . Why employers want to spread tip pools around is to lower their labour costs.”

The Court of Appeals ruled that as part-time, hourly employees, shift supervisors should be given a cut of the tips. Assistant managers were effectively denied from getting a share, seeing as they get a full-time salary with benefits.