Dunkin' Donuts Franchises Want to Change Tip Rules

The owners would like to allow shift supervisors in on tip pools.

June 14, 2011

BELLINGHAM, Mass. - A group of Massachusetts Dunkin?? Donut franchise owners is seeking to change a law to allow shift supervisors to take a cut of employee tip pools, the Boston Globe reports. The owners argue that current rules governing tip disbursement is not clear about who could get tips, opening them up to potential lawsuits.

However, employees claim that allowing supervisors to share in the tip pool takes away their own pay and lets owners lower supervisor salaries unfairly. "Employers want to use the tip pool to fund as many managers as they can, because it will reduce their labor costs,???? said Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney on the class-action lawsuit filed by Dunkin?? Donut employees to keep salaried workers from taking tips.

The owners counter that shift supervisors work alongside the crew members, serving coffee to customers, and often make only 50 cents to a dollar more than the hourly workers, said Jim Coen, president of DD Independent Franchise Owners Inc., which represents 2,700 Dunkin?? Donuts owners.

"That person very often is the one giving you your coffee,???? said Coen. "They??re playing a role in the crew, so they should share in the tips.????

The Massachusetts Legislature??s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing on changing tip rules for limited-service restaurants, such as Dunkin?? Donuts, McDonald??s and Starbucks. Existing law prohibits employees with "managerial responsibility" from getting tips, but the regulation neglects to outline what responsibilities it means.

Sarmad Marzuq has worked at a Dunkin?? Donuts for three years, taking home around $25 per day in tips. He claims he would have made more had the store manager not garnished around $100 weekly. "The only reason I worked at Dunkin?? Donuts was the money plus the tips,???? said Marzuq, a student. "It really helped me out for school."