Here's Who Gets Your Starbucks Tips
Court says baristas and shift supervisors can split them, but not assistant managers
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 28, 2013 8:12 AM CDT
File photo of Starbucks workers.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(Newser) – New York's highest court has weighed in on a feud over the Starbucks tip jar. Two suits were in question. In one, baristas argued that shift supervisors should be banned from sharing the cash because state law prohibits "employers and their agents" from access to tips for waiters and busboys, CNNMoney reports. In the other, assistant managers said they should get dibs on some of the money because they deal with customers, too.

The Court of Appeals decided the shift supervisors deserved tip access—they're part-time, hourly-paid workers, just like their subordinates, and their management role is small. Assistant managers, however, weren't so lucky: They're on salaries with quarterly bonuses and other benefits, and they have a say in hiring and firing. Therefore, tips aren't fair game for them, the court said. At the Consumerist, Mary Beth Quirk sees a pretty fair decision: "Everyone is coming out kind of a winner." Baristas have to share only with shift supervisors, and if assistant managers are less than thrilled with the decision, "they already earn salaries and have benefits, so that’s pretty winner-y."

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Showing 3 of 32 comments
Jul 1, 2013 12:52 AM CDT
I don't buy Starbucks coffee. They get their beans from a group in Ethiopia so cheaply it leaves them in practical slave labor. That's their definition of 100% Arabican ? Cheap bastards. They just put one in my local grocery store. The color of the service counter is like a big muddy, filthy, African elephant in the room. If they had a mascot it would starve to death !
Jun 28, 2013 10:10 PM CDT
Tipping because someone hands you something over a counter? Tipping is why sit down restaurants are having financial problems. Younger people go to fast food joints for that reason. Prices have risen and a hamburger is already too expensive for some. What's next? A tip jar beside every self-service gas pump?
Jun 28, 2013 6:03 PM CDT
Shultz has fought this same battle in state courts all across the nation piecemeal at a time. California ruled against him long ago and each employee got around $1500 in back pay. There are some restaurants out there that take all tip money and give none of it to the wait staff. Some have been featured on national media stories. My mom used to just hand money to the wait person directly and I told her that they still probably had to turn it in since the manager probably saw them take it. In smaller towns I've known people to see their favorite wait person from a diner and give them money privately outside of the restaurant instead of tipping at the restaurant. They know the boss takes a cut and don't like it. The problem is that the boss sees them leave without tipping and thinks they are deadbeats. Usually they have a bad opinion of them anyway so it really doesn't matter. I know of one restaurant owner that operates strictly by cash. He does not have any kind of record keeping system other than the fake one he keeps for state tax and IRS purposes. He pays in cash for straight hours. He is fair in that he pays in a share system. It encourages the staff to stay on and watch their shares grow. He uses a system much like the fishing boat owners. He pays all expenses first. Then he takes a share for owning the restaurant. Then the staff get shares per seniority and length. At the end of the year, he sets aside a reserve fund and then divides the rest based on months of service. That's borrowed from a law firm or partnership medical clinic. Its not uncommon for people to see the staff show up after the New Years week break with new cars. Needless to say, his restaurant has a waiting list for applications.