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Starbucks shift bosses tipped, assistant managers stiffed

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The New York Court of Appeal—the state’s highest court—has ruled that Starbucks baristas in New York must share tips with their shift supervisors. Assistant managers, however, are out of luck. The court said they don’t get a cut of the nickels, dimes and quarters left in the jars on the Starbucks counters.

Baristas and shift supervisors alike are hourly employees, while assistant managers are paid a salary.

The key issue in the case, decided in late June: Whether Starbucks assistant managers are really managers under both the Fair Labor Standards Act and comparable state law.

Starbucks argued that assistant managers should receive a share of pooled tips because they lack the ability to hire and fire. The chain said they interact with customers more than store managers, who Starbucks concedes are managers under the FLSA and should not receive any tip income.

Note: This decision will have implications far beyond the espresso machines. Positions analogous to Star­­bucks’ assistant managers dot the hospitality-industry landscape.

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