Federal Appeals Court Says Yes, Starbucks Baristas Have To Share Tips With Supervisors

Starbucks baristas had kept fighting to keep customer tips out of the hands of shift supervisors after a court ruled in June that they’d have to share. Assistant managers are still out of the loop, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says that because shift supervisors do a lot of the same work as baristas, they deserve the extra cash.

The three-judge panel explained that shift supervisors usually occupy themselves at work serving food and drinks to customers, along with their other duties like administering break periods, opening and closing the store and guiding baristas about their performance.

But they’re not like assistant managers — they’re part-time workers with no benefits — and don’t have the money to fire or hire, which means they should get a cut of the tip take.

“Thus, while shift supervisors may be able to coach baristas, they cannot formally discipline them,” the panel said, via the Associated Press. “On this record, no fact finder could conclude that shift supervisors have such a ‘substantial’ degree of ‘managerial responsibility’ that they are no longer akin to ‘general wait staff.’”

The attorney representing the baristas says the ruling is “unfortunate” and it lets employers subsidize the pay of its supervisors with money that instead should go to their lowest-wage workers.

Starbucks hasn’t responded to the ruling yet. But if you’re feeling particularly generous, add a little extra to that tip jar if you have a good experience. It’s gotta stretch, after all.

Appeals court in NY sides with Starbucks over tips [Associated Press]

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  1. oomingmak says:

    This ruling seems to make perfect sense. I know at my local Starbucks the shift supervisors are some of the best baristas/cashiers too and often my tips are intended directly for them.

    It also makes sense that the Managers shouldn’t get access to the tips.

  2. StevenPierce says:

    They could solve this problem by doing away with tips and paying a decent wage.

    • MarthaGaill says:

      I think Starbucks pays pretty well for part-timers. I thought they offered limited benefits to part-time employees as well.

  3. Ravensclawth says:

    They should share in the tips, but if they get paid at a higher level than then regular workers, then they should get a correspondingly lesser percentage amount of the tips. imho.