The highest court in Massachusetts just set a horrible precedent: There’s apparently nothing wrong with a Dunkin’ Donuts owner’s policy of banning tips and then pocketing any change well-meaning customers leave on the counter.
The ruling pertained to a case involving a 2011 lawsuit brought by three Dunkin’ Donuts employees against Constantine Scrivanos, a franchise owner who instituted no-tipping policies at 44 of his stores. The employees claimed the move violated Massachusetts’ Wage Act, which says tip money is off-limits to management. But, in a surprise turn, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled no-tipping policies are fine as long as they’re “clearly communicated,” meaning owners can just have any extra money that customers leave behind. (Now the policy is that Dunkin’ Donuts staffers will have to put bills left on the counter directly into the register, with the store’s cash.)
Scrivanos and his legal team argued that there are “thank you for not tipping” signs in the stores, so clearly anyone who insists on tipping anyway is being “unreasonable.” The whole decision leaves a bad taste in the mouths of people fighting for a higher minimum wage, of course. Perhaps they should just join the anti-tipping movement instead.