Massachusetts Tip Pooling Act And Protections for Waitstaff

The Massachusetts Tip Pooling Act protects the tips of waitstaff from being distributed to employers, managers and employees who are not serving restaurant customers directly.  Three types of restaurant employees may share tips: wait staff, service employees and service bartenders.

Employees who do not serve customers directly, such as kitchen staff, administrative staff and expeditors may not receive tips.  To the extent that restaurants are requiring their waitstaff to share tips with managers, kitchen staff, administrative staff, maitre d’s or other employees who do not serve customers directly, the restaurants may be violating the Massachusetts Tip Pooling Act.

Employers cannot keep tips given by a customer to a wait staff employee, service employee or service bartender. This is true whether the tip is left in cash on the table, on a credit card, or change left in a tip jar.

Massachusetts has a very pro employee law that requires judges to triple the amount of any judgment to an employee for a violation of the wage law, including unlawful tip pooling and tip sharing practices.

If you have any questions about how the Tip Pooling Act affects you, please call Boston labor and employment lawyer Maura Greene, 617-936-1580 for a free consultation.