Here's Who Gets Your Starbucks Tips

Court says baristas and shift supervisors can split them, but not assistant managers

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 28, 2013 8:12 AM CDT

(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."

File photo of Starbucks workers.
File photo of Starbucks workers.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
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