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Friday, March 21, 2008

California Court Awards Starbucks Baristas $105 Million in Tip Dispute By VIKAS BAJAJ

The case centers on the division of labor between managers and rank-and-file workers. Under California labor law and rules, tips can be pooled and shared among workers but restaurant owners or their “agents,” which are typically construed to mean managers and supervisors, cannot share in the money.

Like baristas, shift supervisors at Starbucks make coffee and serve customers, but they are also responsible for directing other employees, setting schedules and doing other managerial work.

“The thing that makes this hard for employers is that an employee can be in the middle of two different roles,” said Sydney L. Howell, an employment lawyer in San Francisco who was not involved in the case.

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