Court: Starbucks Baristas Only Have To Share Tips With Shift Supervisors, Not Asst. Managers

In the fight over who gets to dig their hands into the Starbucks tip jar at the end of the day, everyone is coming out kind of a winner. Well, except for assistant managers, but they already earn salaries and have benefits, so that’s pretty winner-y. A court says baristas must share their tips, but only with shift supervisors.

While it’s not a total win for baristas who didn’t want to cough up any of their tips to shift supervisors, at least they don’t have to share with yet another group of people. And the shift supervisors who’d argued that they did enough customer service to warrant a little extra will surely be pleased with the New York Court of Appeals’ decision.

Two lawsuits were up in the air for the court: One brought by the baristas challenging Starbucks’ policy that tips should be shared between baristas and shift supervisors, the other on behalf of assistant managers looking to get in on that action.

In the first case, the court rejected baristas’ arguments, noting that shift supervisors didn’t really do much in the way of management, reports CNNMoney, and both baristas and shift supervisors earn hourly wages on a part-time basis.

“An employee whose personal service to patrons is a principal or regular part of his or her duties may participate in an employer-mandated tip allocation arrangement…even if that employee possesses limited supervisory responsibilities,” the court said in its ruling.

But as for those assistant managers? The court says they don’t have enough face-time with customers to warrant tips and oh — they also have salaries, benefits, bonuses, paid vacation and sick days. And they manage employees in that they can hire or fire them. In short — no tips for you.

“We believe that there comes a point at which the degree of managerial responsibility becomes so substantial that the individual can no longer fairly be characterized as an employee similar to general wait staff,” said the court in its decision.

Starbucks baristas must share some tips [CNNMoney]