|STARBUCKS TIPS CASES
We have filed cases against Starbucks in Massachusetts and New York on behalf of baristas challenging the company’s practice of requiring tips to be shared with shift supervisors. While we agree that shift supervisors should be paid more than baristas to account for the additional duties they hold, we believe that the laws of Massachusetts and New York require that any pay received by supervisors come from the employer and not from a tip pool; the legislatures of these states have passed strict laws to protect the tips of non-supervisory service workers.
We have now won this issue in Massachusetts. The federal courts in Massachusetts have agreed with our interpretation, ruling that Starbucks’ tip sharing policy violates the law of Massachusetts, which requires that only employees with no managerial responsibility may share in tip pools. The magistrate judge granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and class certification, which was affirmed by the district court in March 2011. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision in November 2012. Thus, under this ruling, anyone who has worked as a barista for Starbucks in Massachusetts at any time since March 2005 is entitled to a refund from Starbucks of the amount of tips that they lost due to their sharing of tips with shift supervisors. We calculate that this amount comes to more than $20 million to date (including prejudgment interest and trebling of a portion of the damages as ordered by the court). We will keep you posted about further proceedings and when we expect money to be distributed to the barista class in this case.
In New York, the case is now pending at the state's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals. The federal trial court dismissed our case, finding that shift supervisors can participate in a tip pool under New York law. But when we appealed, the federal appeals court (the Second Circuit) granted our request to certify the case to the New York Court of Appeals for a definitive legal ruling on which employees may share in a tip pool. We expect a ruling on the New York appeal sometime in 2013.
In 2008, a California court found Starbucks to be in violation of California law for allowing shift supervisors to participate in the tip pool. The court ordered Starbucks to pay back baristas more than $100 million for tips that were shared with supervisors. This ruling was reversed by an intermediate appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied further review. The California law is written differently from the laws in Massachusetts and New York, and so we believe the appellate ruling has no bearing on our other cases, a conclusion with which the Massachusetts courts have agreed.
To read more about these cases, read the links below:
2nd Circ. sides with Starbucks in tip pool class action
Grande tips payoff for Starbucks baristas
Starbucks baristas tip fight intensifies
New York Court sides with Starbucks on tip rules
Who deserves Starbucks tips?
Baristas battle Starbucks over tip sharing policy
Who are you tipping at Starbucks? NY top court to decide
NY's top court to decide who can tap Starbucks' tip jars
NY Starbucks tip fight percolates beyond java giant
Starbucks restructures 'shift supervisor' position in Mass.
Starbucks supervisors get a raise to make up for employee tip ruling
Starbucks workers tip suit scores $14M win against coffee giant
Starbucks ordered to serve up $14M in tip-pool suit
First Circuit affirms win for Starbucks baristas over tip-sharing
Court: Starbucks owes more than $14m to Mass. baristas
Starbucks sued by Baristas, managers over tip-sharing
2nd Circ. sends Starbucks tip cases to NY high court
Second Circuit stumped by Starbucks tipping cliams
Starbucks brews an appeal in case over tip splitting
Starbucks Baristas ask 2nd Circ. to reheat tip sharing suit
Starbucks asks 1st Circ. to nix $14M damages over tip pool
Starbucks consents to $7.5M damages over shared tips
Baristas want Starbucks to pour out $32M in tip pool suit
1st Cir. lets class cert. stand for Starbucks baristas
Baristas' suit against Starbucks may proceed as class action in Mass. federal court
Starbucks supervisors can't share in tips, Judge says
Starbucks unfairly split Mass. Baristas' tips: Judge
Starbucks Baristas fight toss of tip-sharing action
Calif. ruling doesn't slow Starbucks tips suit
N.Y. baristas want class cert. in tips spat
N.Y. barista is latest to sue Starbucks over tips
Starbucks supervisors accused of skimming tips from baristas
Starbucks hit with class action lawsuit over tips
Starbucks sued again over tip pools
OTHER TIP CASES
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Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C.