March 11, 2014

Starbucks Must Pay Baristas $86 Million Plus Interest for Tip-Pooling Arrangement

California Employment Law Update

On March 21, 2008, a San Diego County Superior Court ruled that Starbucks violated California law by allowing shift supervisors to share in the customer tip pool.  Jou Chou, a former Starbucks barista in La Jolla who alleged shift supervisors were sharing in employee tips, filed the lawsuit in October 2004.  in 2006, the case was granted class-action status.  Judge Patricia Cowett ruled that the Seattle-based coffee chain must pay a statewide class of about 120,000 baristas employed by the company since 2000 $86 million plus interest.  The court also ruled that Plaintiffs are entitled to an injunction preventing Starbucks from forcing employees to share their tips with shift supervisors.