A court in the United States has given the espresso-grinding baristas at Starbucks coffee chain what must be one of the largest tips in history. ( dpa )
The judgment by Judge Patricia Y Cowett of California Superior Court in San Diego found that the company had wrongly allowed supervisors to share in tips in violation of a state law that prohibits managers and supervisors from sharing in the employee gratuities.
Cowert ordered Starbucks to return 100 million dollars to current and former baristas, who have been forced to share their tips with shift supervisors since October 2000.
The coffee store chain has 2,460 stores in California and the class action could involve more than 100,000 coffee servers, the Los Angeles Times reported. Some may receive as much as 10,000 dollars in lost tips.
The class-action lawsuit stemmed from a complaint filed in 2004 by former barista Jou Chou who complained that shift supervisors, who also make coffee and serve customers, were illegally getting a cut of employee tips.
Starbucks Corp said it was outraged and vowed to appeal. In a statement, the company said the decision "is not only contrary to law, it is fundamentally unfair and beyond all common sense and reason."