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Starbucks Does Not Owe Its Baristas $105 Million

Starbucks Does Not Owe Its Baristas $105 Million — For Now

More than a year after a California court ordered Starbucks to pay its baristas $105 million in back tips, the 4th District Court of Appeal has reversed the ruling. It all started when former barista Jou Chau filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the 100,000 current and former baristas in the state of California, arguing that Starbucks was acting unlawfully by permitting shift supervisors to share tips.

The appeals court concluded that Starbucks supervisors should receive their fair share of tips because they "essentially perform the same job as baristas." The baristas are taking the issue to the top and plan to submit an appeal to the California Supreme Court. David Lowe, the baristas' lawyer, brought the argument full circle and said, "Up to this point, every court that has addressed this issue has found that an employer cannot pay supervisors from a tip pool. This is the first case that goes in a different direction."

When the initial ruling was announced last March, 62 percent of you agreed that Starbucks was disobeying the law and owed its baristas for the tips they shared with supervisors. For now, Starbucks has been declared the winner, but we'll have to wait and see what happens with the baristas' appeal.


Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i get why people are upset about it but if they do similar jobs then it's really no different right? i don't know - if you're supposed to have a higher position and you don't get compensated for it i can understand why you wouldn't necessarily agree with the whole process.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
As an ex Starbucks barista, I totally side with Starbucks on this one. The shift supervisors do the exact same things as regular baristas except they carry the keys and coordinate breaks. Sometimes they have to take money to the bank and calculate the tips once a week, and I guess it would be OK if those hours weren't calculated toward their tip hours. At my store, I made $8.10/hr before tips. We were a pretty busy store and usually got around $5-6 per hour in tips (and this was a while wgo when shift supervisors were part of the tip pool). Shift supervisors made around $9.50-$12.00 per hour before tips, so if they weren't part of the tip pool anymore, the regular baristas would be making more money.
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