Recently, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Starbucks baristas must share their tips with shift supervisors. Despite the baristas’ arguments that shift supervisors perform many managerial duties, the court found that they still regularly provide direct service to patrons, and thus are eligible to be part of the tip-pool. However, managers and assistant managers are not able to participate in the tip-pool.
Cases such as these highlight the confusion out there about legal practices surrounding tips. Many employees who earn tips are paid less than minimum wage (currently $8.25 in Illinois), some have to pool their tips with other, and sometimes employees are told that they can’t keep their tips. Such practices are not always legal. Many employers come up with these compensation structures because they don’t fully understand the law; others take advantage of the ambiguity.
If you believe that your employer is not following the law with regard to your compensation and tips, an employment attorney can help you determine how much you are owed.