Former Cottage Grove Starbucks employee sues company for tip-sharing requirementA former employee at the Cottage Grove Starbucks filed a lawsuit Thursday against the company alleging that the coffee retailer illegally required its baristas to share tips with shift managers, said E. Michelle Drake, a lawyer with Nichols Kaster & Anderson, the firm representing the employee.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A former employee at the Cottage Grove Starbucks filed a lawsuit Thursday against the company alleging that the coffee retailer illegally required its baristas to share tips with shift managers, said E. Michelle Drake, a lawyer with Nichols Kaster & Anderson, the firm representing the employee.
The employee, Sandra Delsing, worked at the Starbucks from late 2005 through the fall of 2007, according to the court Complaint.
The employee is asking that the lawsuit be made class action, similar to a recent California case against Starbucks. The class would include all non-managerial Starbucks employees who received tips and were forced to pool and divide them, according to the Complaint.
In that case, a judge ruled in March that the coffee retailer had to refund its baristas more than $100 million in tips they lost by sharing them with supervisors, according to published reports.
The Complaint cites Minnesota Statute 177.24, which says “any gratuity received by an employee or deposited in or about a place of business for personal services rendered by an employee is the sole property of the employee. No employer may require an employee to contribute or share a gratuity received by the employee with the employer or other employees …”
According to a statement from the company, the California lawsuit and similar ones are mischaracterizing its policies.
Shift supervisors are not managers and have no managerial authority, the statement says. Both baristas and shift supervisors serve customers, and the company doesn’t believe that customers differentiate between them, according to the release.
“We believe the California Court’s decision is not only contrary to the law, but also fundamentally unfair and beyond all common sense and reason,” the statement says. “We intend to vigorously fight all such unjust lawsuits.”