DDIFO amicus brief was right on the money!
Back in January, 2014, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the highest court in the state, took up on direct appellate review the no tipping issues presented in the case of Meshna v Scrivanos. DDIFO acted quickly and in concert with the attorney for DD franchisee and plaintiff, Conse Scrivanos, to file an amicus brief in defense of the franchise owner’s no tipping policy. The case was brought by current and former employees of the franchisee who contended that his no tipping policy violated state law, the so-called Tips Act (G.L. c. 149 §152A). The Superior Court ruled in favor of the franchise owner that a no-tipping policy was not a violation of state law, but it also reported two questions to the Appellate Court:
Does G.L. c. 149 §152A allow an employer to maintain a no-tipping policy?
If a no-tipping policy is permitted under Massachusetts law, may an employer be liable under G.L. c. 149 §152A, if:
- The employer fails to communicate the no-tipping policy clearly to customers, who consequently leave tips that are retained by the employer; and/or
- The employer clearly communicates the no-tipping policy to customers, who nonetheless leave tips that are retained by the employer?
The court, in its wisdom, ruled that a no-tipping policy was perfectly legal under Massachusetts state law, and further that if the franchise owner advised customers of the no-tipping policy with proper signage, then the employer was free to do as he wished with any tips left notwithstanding the clear statement of the no-tipping policy.
This is a very important decision for franchise owners who wish to maintain a no-tipping policy, and DDIFO is proud of the work we’ve done to ensure that these policies continue as options available to Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners. You can read the full decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court below, here on the DDIFO website.