$14 Million Reminder: Tipped Employees Get The Tips

The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of baristas in Matamoros v. Starbucks Corp.  Click here for the full Starbucks Decision.  Baristas filed suit against the coffee chain protesting, under Massachusetts laws, the practice of allowing shift supervisors to share in the pooled gratuities.  The Massachusetts Tip Act states simply that “‘wait staff’ employees shall not be required to share tips with anyone who is not a ‘wait staff employee.'”  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 152A(b), (c).  Starbucks argued that shift supervisors (who sometimes pulled espressos) were wait staff employees.  The First Circuit disagreed, calling it “pellucid that shift supervisors possess managerial responsibility. Any other conclusion would blink reality.”  Starbucks was hit with well over $14,000,000 in damages.  What this means to you:If you run a business such as a restaurant or coffee house where employees regularly get tips, they can be pooled, but no manager can take any share of them.  The tips need to be split among the non-supervisory workers.  Muller Law can help you navigate these complicated laws.  If you are an employee at such a business and see your tips going to managers, call Muller Law or an employment law attorney to see if the Starbucks case can help you.