Starbucks Owes Baristas $100M in Tips

Court says supervisors shouldn't be taking a cut out of tip jar
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2008 7:14 AM CDT
Starbucks, the world's largest gourmet coffee retailer, may have to distribute up to $106 million in back tips to California baristas following a judge's ruling.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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(Newser) – Starbucks will have to shell out more than $100 million to its baristas in California because they had to share the tip jar with supervisors, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. A judge ruled that the coffee giant violated the state's labor code and ordered it to make amends to 120,000 low-wage workers over the last eight years. It's not clear how much each worker will get or whether the ruling will affect other states.

"You may be a big corporation and you may want to do it your way, but you still have to comply with the law and you can't subsidize your labor force," the judge wrote. The company called the ruling  “fundamentally unfair and beyond all common sense and reason.” The judge figured the ruling by estimating that baristas lost $1.71 an hour because of the policy. "It’s a lot of tips."