Harvard Club of Boston reaches tentative deal on waiters' tips

Bloomberg News
Updated 9/21/2012 8:19 AM

The Harvard Club of Boston reached a tentative settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by waiters who said they weren't paid tips.

"It has been amicably resolved," Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer for the waiters, said yesterday in a phone interview. She declined to comment further. A Sept. 10 entry in the case docket in Massachusetts state court says "case settled" without giving details.

The Boston Globe reported on its website that the tentative settlement, which must be approved by a judge, is valued at $4 million, citing a letter sent to Harvard Club of Boston members.

Frank Iudiciani, a spokesman for the Harvard Club, and Jeffrey Burns, a lawyer for the club, didn't immediately return calls for comment on the settlement.

The Harvard Club added surcharges of either 17 percent or 20 percent to food and beverage bills and represented them as service charges in lieu of tips, the waiters said in the complaint filed in November. Members and guests were told not to tip waiters, the waiters said.

"However, the Harvard Club does not remit any portion of these service charges to the wait staff employees who work in its dining rooms or at its private functions," according to the complaint. "Instead, the Harvard Club retains the proceeds of these charges for its own operating expenses."

The Harvard Club menu offers Maine Lobsters, stuffed with shrimp, crab, scallops and mushrooms, for $30, and its signature entrees include a grilled seven-ounce filet mignon for $34, according to the menu posted on its website.

Waiters are paid an hourly wage, according to the filing.

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