A California court approved a preliminary $3 million settlement on June 10 more than four years after the first lawsuits against Starbucks was filed. The case focuses on California Starbucks staff and whether they were denied off-duty breaks by the company’s “two partner” rules requiring more than one server on-hand at all times. Despite company policy allowing meal breaks, the class action alleged, this second policy effectively made it impossible to take time away, forcing baristas and other staff to take on-duty meal breaks.
The original lawsuit was filed in December 2008 by a former Starbucks barista in California, Summer York.
The settlement included two subclasses: one of cafe attendants, baristas and shift supervisors who were employed locations between December 2, 2007, and January 2013 and who were affected by the two-partner rule, and the other of workers who allegedly received wage statements that failed to report the numeric overtime rate. The plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary approval was unopposed.
The original lawsuit was filed in December 2008 by a former Starbucks barista in California, Summer York. As part of the settlement, York – along with co-plaintiff KaTina Burns – were awarded incentives of $10,000 and $2,000 respectively. For Judge Gary Allen Feess, the award incentives were the only possibly problematic part of the agreement – especially, he said as “KaTina Burns has hardly been in this case.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney was quick to reassure the judge that there were no conditions to settle attached to the incentives.
Attorneys’ fees are not included in the preliminary settlement. The case is Summer York et al. v. Starbucks Corp., case No. 2:08-cv-07919 before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.