The New York Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that Starbucks baristas must split their tips with shift supervisors.
The court determined that shift supervisors do similar work as coffee servers and are entitled to a share of daily tips. But assistant managers were left out of the cut of the daily tips, the AP reports.
The ruling supported the company's current policy of splitting tips among baristas and shift supervisors. The policy came into question when two separate sets of Starbucks employees filed lawsuits, highlighting their issues with the way tips were divided, reports CNBC.com.
Arguments for the case occurred in May with lawyers for the baristas saying that shift supervisors shouldn't be able to benefit from tips since they earn a higher hourly wage and perform some managerial duties.
Starbucks argued that shift supervisors should be able to receive a part of the tips since their main duty is still to serve drinks and food to customers. The company also supported leaving assistant managers out of the cut since those employees carry out too many managerial duties.
"We're pleased our customers should have the option to reward our partners for providing great service and we're pleased the New York Court of Appeals agreed our tipping policy is fair and appropriate under New York state law," said company spokeswoman Jaime Riley.
The court sided with the company's current policy, citing the similarities in the work of the baristas and shift supervisors -- specifically the fact that both mainly serve customers -- as the main reason for the policy to remain intact.
"The [Department of Labor] has consistently and, in our view, reasonably, maintained that employees who regularly provide direct service to patrons remain tip-pool eligible even if they exercise a limited degree of supervisory responsibility," said Judge Victoria A. Graffeo in the ruling.
"But an employee granted meaningful authority or control over subordinates can no longer be considered similar to waiters and busboys ... and, consequently, is not eligible to participate in a tip pool."
The court's opinion was not the final decision, though. It was simply an advisory opinion requested by the federal court handling the case.
Treye Green is a reporter for The International Business Times and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Green has shot, edited and...