N.Y. Starbucks Baristas Lawsuit Over Tips Grinds On

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A similar lawsuit went before a Massachusetts court, which ruled differently than New York's district court. In Massachusetts, the court ruled in December that shift supervisors were not eligible to participate in the tipping pool.

Riley said Starbucks disagreed with the court ruling in Massachusetts, saying 90 percent of a shift supervisors' time is customer-facing while the other 10 percent is managerial.

"However, we must respect the court's ruling, and therefore removed shift supervisors in Massachusetts from the tip pool," she said.

Liss-Riordan said that as a result of the Massachusetts court ruling, Starbucks began paying shift supervisors about $3 more per hour.

Riley said the company does not comment on employee compensation, but prior to the ruling in Massachusetts, "Starbucks had been testing a new store operations structure to determine the best way to elevate our partner experience, the operations of our stores, and the experience we provide to our customers."

"Following the court decision in Massachusetts, Starbucks decided to implement this new operations structure in the state of Massachusetts," Riley said. "The updated store operations structure consolidates the assistant store manager and shift supervisor roles into a new shift manager role to increase management presence in every store. This elevated role offers a competitive pay and benefits package and is designed to provide better career opportunities for store partners and accelerate future growth."

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