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NY High Court peering into Starbucks’ murky tip pool

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The state’s highest court is weighing how New York state law applies to Starbucks’ tip-pooling practices, which funnel some customer tips to management personnel.

The case has wound through the legal system as courts try to determine how state law applies to Star­­bucks’ tip pools. The plaintiffs claim New York law specifically bars any management personnel from receiving any part of pooled tips.

Coffee industry experts say Star­­bucks would have to pay managers $2 more per hour to make up for tips they would lose if they were excluded from tip pooling.

Starbucks contends that including managers in tip pools is appropriate because shift supervisors and man­agers all work side-by-side with baristas behind the bar.

The ruling will hinge on how the court defines management personnel and their various roles as they apply to the state’s overtime and minimum wage law.

Advice: If you use tip pools, consult your attorney for guidance.

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