No Tipping Means No Tipping: Massachusetts Court Rules Owners Can Pocket Tips
Devout tippers take heed: No tipping means no tipping, at least in Massachusetts, and people who consider themselves extra generous might be surprised to learn that their gratuity can simply end up in the hands of business owners.
This revelation comes after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of the owner of 66 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises who was pocketing tips left at two-thirds of his stores. The owner, Constantine Scrivanos, had instated a strict no-tipping policy and clearly displayed this with signs in his stores. Still, patrons who politely circumvented the rules probably didn’t expect that their tips were going directly into the register—which is where they were ending up—especially at a large chain like Dunkin’ Donuts.
Even though Massachusetts’s tipping law doesn’t allow management to take a cut of employees’ tips, the state’s top court ruled that if owners have a clearly communicated no-tipping policy, then extra money doesn’t have to be treated as a tip. Diane Saunders, the attorney for the restaurants’ management, said customers who still left tips were “unreasonable” and doing a disservice to the anti-tipping sentiment.
The decision stems from a suit filed against Scrivanos by three former employees who alleged the owner’s policy was illegal. “I’m disappointed,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, their attorney. “The issue was not entirely clear under Massachusetts tip law, but I thought we had a good case.”
Meanwhile, the implication of this precedent seems pretty clear for tippers. If an owner feels the need to go through the trouble of clearly communicating a no-tipping policy, he’s probably the kind of person who’s also willing to pocket your tips.
[h/t Boston Globe]