Tip Pooling Laws and Servers’ Rights in Massachusetts

Tip Pooling Laws

Under Massachusetts tip pooling laws, waitstaff may not be required to share their tips with restaurant owners or managers.  This is true whether: (1) there is a tip jar on the counter, (2) the customer leaves cash on the table or (3) the tip is on a credit card.  The owner of the restaurant can’t require servers to give up a portion of tips to the owner or to share tips with management.

Waitstaff employees may share in tips or service charges provided that the wait staff meets the following criteria:

(1) the person must work in a restaurant, banquet facility or other place where prepared food or beverages are served;

(2) the person must provide service to customers by serving beverages or prepared food directly, or by clearing customers’ tables; and

(3) the person may not have any managerial responsibility.

Violations of MA Tip Pooling Laws

Restaurants that require servers to give a portion of their tips to owners, managers or to other restaurant employees who do not provide service to customers may be in violation of Massachusetts tip pooling laws.   Accordingly, please call us at 617-936-1580 to talk about tip pooling.  We can advise you on whether it is an unlawful tip pooling situation.  We have represented servers in small restaurants, national chains, fast food restaurants and catering and banquet servers.  We’ve successfully recovered unpaid tips for many servers and waitstaff.  Please call us at 617-936-1580 or email us at [email protected] to find out how we can help you.  Moreover, you may have claims other than claims relating to tip pooling laws, so it is important to speak with an attorney about your rights.

Massachusetts Has Strong Wage Laws

Massachusetts has very strong laws protecting servers. This includes employees in restaurants, fast food restaurants, donut shops, catering and banquet facilities and event spaces. Massachusetts laws protect employees from wage theft.  Servers who are successful at trial in tip pooling cases and unpaid wage cases must be paid three times the amount that they are owed. The court will also award successful plaintiffs their attorney’s fees and costs.  Our firm has successfully represented servers working in small local restaurants to national chain restaurants.  We’ve also represented servers working in banquet and catering facilities.  There are short time limits for filing claims.  It is important, therefore, that you speak with a Massachusetts tip pooling attorney as soon as possible.  We can help you learn more about your rights.  Please call us at 617-936-1580 or email us at [email protected] for a free and confidential assessment of your situation.

If you have any questions about how Massachusetts tip pooling laws may affect your rights, please call Boston, Massachusetts labor and employment lawyer Maura Greene, Law Office of Maura Greene, Six Beacon St., Suite 205, Boston, MA 02108, at 617-936-1580 or [email protected].  We’re friendly and we respond to all calls and emails.

Maura Greene has been rated a Super Lawyer for employment from 2013-2017.  She is AV-rated, which is the highest individual rating an attorney may receive.  She was quoted in the Boston Globe on the Market Basket employment action.  She represents individual workers, including servers, waitstaff and banquet and catering employees.  If you want to see reviews, head over to AVVO, where our excellent clients describe in detail what it’s like to work with us.