$3M Settlement Reached in Starbucks California Wage and Hour Class Action Lawsuit

Seattle, WA: Starbucks has agreed to pay $3 million to settle a California unpaid wages and overtime class action lawsuit brought five years ago by former Starbucks employees. The lawsuit contends that Starbucks employees were denied off-duty breaks due to understaffing.

Originally filed by former barista and shift supervisor Summer York in 2008, the employment lawsuit contends that Starbucks automated labor and scheduling system, management bonus structure, and various customer service imperatives effectively enabled the company to circumvent its own written meal and rest break policies. According to the lawsuit, Starbuck’s had a “two-partner rule” that prevented the employees from taking uninterrupted meal breaks, as required by California state law. Starbuck’s company policy stated that when only two employees are present on shift, neither could leave their station for breaks, effectively forcing them to take on-duty meal breaks.

Eligible class members in the Starbucks unpaid overtime settlement include cafe attendants, baristas and shift supervisors who worked for Starbucks' California locations between December 2, 2007 and January 2013.

The class action settlement agreement is expected to be signed by May 22.

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