Denial of Tips or Service Charges

Steffans Legal Represents Employees In Unpaid Tips and Service Charge Cases In Pittsfield, North Adams, Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, And Cape Cod

The Massachusetts Tips Act regulates what employers can and cannot do with tips and service charges. It’s an incredibly complex statute that is hard to comply with and easy to violate. We’ve represented employees and employers in claims arising under the Massachusetts Tips Act and understand how it works and what it does and does not prevent.  We have handled a number of cases regarding the Tips Act, including those related to tips and service charges in the restaurant and hospitality industries. In 2016, we recovered over $200,000 for a group of service-industry workers for violations of the Tips Act and currently represent a group of restaurant workers relative to similar violations.The most commonly asked questions regarding this statute are answered below. Have questions?  Schedule a free consultation today.  

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tips and Service Charges

Is there a law that regulates tips and service charges? Yes. The Massachusetts Tips Act protects tips that waiters and other service employees receive from customers. This law regulates who can and cannot participate in a tip pool, what can and cannot be done with tips, and regulates what employers must do with service charges.  

Who is allowed to receive tips? The Massachusetts Tips Act allows for wait staff employees, service employees, and service bartenders to receive tips. As a general rule, only employees who provide service directly to customers are entitled to receive tips. For example, hostesses are not entitled to take tips, whereas food runners and busboys probably are.

What about service charges? The Massachusetts Tips Act regulates these too. Typically, a service charge is a fee imposed on a patron by an employer, as opposed to a discretionary tip. Employers must distribute service charges to wait staff employees, service employees, and service bartenders in proportion to the services they provided.  Generally, service charges cannot be retained by owners.  

What about managers, supervisors, or owners? Can they take tips and service charges? Under most circumstances: absolutely not. There are limited exceptions, but the general presumption is a definite "no."     

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