Tips and service charges


We 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. We won this issue in Massachusetts. The federal courts in Massachusetts 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. In New York, the case was certified to the state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals. The court held that shift supervisors can participate in a tip pool under New York law.