Starbucks Balks at Paying Back Barista Tips

Firm challenges court ruling, calls it 'unfair beyond reason'
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 28, 2008 9:41 AM CDT
Starbucks Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Howard Schultz speaks Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting in Seattle.    (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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(Newser) – Starbucks is defying a California court ruling, arguing a judge has created a tempest in a tip jar, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The court ruled the coffee shop must pay nearly $100 million to California baristas forced to share tips with their supervisors. Similar suits have been filed in Minnesota and Massachusetts. Starbucks says it isn’t paying and is seeking an injunction against the ruling.

"Contrary to some reports, Starbucks has not taken money, nor is there money to be refunded or returned," declared a spokeswoman. Starbucks' CEO yesterday voice-mailed employees saying the media had “grossly mischaracterized” the company’s role and called the ruling “unfair and beyond reason.” The judge found Starbucks violated state law because "agents" of the company—shift supervisors—were sharing tips with baristas, who have sole right to the money.