Starbucks faces another tip-sharing lawsuit

SEATTLE Starbucks has vowed in a statement to fight any litigation that accuses it of illegally allowing shift supervisors to share in barista tips.

Starbucks posted the statement on its website on Wednesday after a former barista filed suit earlier this week in Massachusetts, alleging that he was forced by Starbucks to share his tips with shift supervisors. Last week, a judge in California ruled that shift supervisors cannot share in barista tips and ordered Starbucks to pay $87 million plus interest to baristas at 1,400 California units.

Starbucks said in its statement: "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. We intend to vigorously appeal the court’s decision as well as defend any copy-cat litigation."

California law prohibits employers from requiring restaurant servers to share tips with owners, managers or supervisors. A similar law is on the books in Massachusetts.

Starbucks said that shift supervisors are hourly employees who provide the same service that baristas do. The company noted that store managers and assistant managers do not share in tips.

The most recent lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court. Attorneys for the plaintiff, Hernan Matamoros, reportedly are asking the court to certify the lawsuit as a class action.