Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Managers and employers to share in the tips - illegal

For now, the rule of the thumb in California is: employers, managers, supervisors or any employer’s agent, may not take part in the division of tips between and among employees. Meaning, what goes on the tip box, pooled together and divided among employees, cannot be shared to above-mentioned individuals. To do so would violate the law.

A CA court so said when it ordered coffee chain giant Starbucks Corporation to pay its baristas more than a whopping $100 million in back tips that the company paid to its shift supervisors.

The ruling of the court is essentially prohibiting managers and supervisors from sharing in the “employee gratuities”. As of the time of this writing, the case is probably elevated on appeal as a spokesperson for the company already signified their intention to an immediate appeal – further on saying that the ruling is “fundamentally unfair and beyond all common sense and reason.”

But for now, that is the rule in California. Any case similar to this one may also be brought before the court with the help of a competent employment attorney.

The initial lone complainant in this case, who was later on joined by nearly 100,000 former and current Starbucks baristas in a class-action suit, felt vindicated by the judgment – issued a statement saying, “tips really help those receiving the lowest wages. I think Starbucks should pay shift supervisors high wages instead of taking money from the tip pool.”

There are at least hundreds, if not thousands, of establishments similarly situated with the Starbucks case in California nowadays. As it stands, it is illegal for managers, shift supervisors or any employers’ agent to share in the tips. If this happens or if an employer still employs this practice – contact an expert Los Angeles attorney right away.