New York's labor laws are unclear over who gets their paws in the tip jar -- so the high court of New York must determine whether shift supervisors and assistant managers legally get part of the pot.
The Court of Appeals was asked by a federal court to study the labor laws, CBS reported. Current law says that employers' "agents," or employees that act on their behalf, are prohibited from tip-sharing.
But labor laws do not specify which employees qualify as agents, nor does it clarify whether state law permits an employer to exclude an otherwise eligible tip-earning employee from a tip pool, according to Newsmax.
On one side are the baristas that work at the coffee-retail giant. Those employees work on the floor of the store and are responsible for interacting with the customers and making drinks, and cash out tips based on hours worked.
"It's more the baristas who connect with the customers, so they deserve the tips more," said Erica, a Manhattan Starbucks barista.
Current Starbucks policy does not allow assistant managers to earn tips. But the shift supervisors -- those between managers and baristas -- can earn tips. Those employees have some management responsibilities, but also serve customers.
In a separate case, lawyers representing shift supervisors argue that the tip jar should be open to shift supervisors, as their day-to-day work is "98 percent" the same as baristas.
The decision will affect all 413 Starbucks locations across New York, and workers in the hospitality industry expect the decision to affect more than 42,000 businesses statewide.