Harvard Club reaches a $4 million settlement with waitstaff over tips not paid

The Harvard Club has reached a tentative $4 million settlement with its waitstaff over a dispute about tipping, according to a letter the exclusive alumni club sent its members earlier this week.

Employees filed a class action lawsuit in November, claiming they had been cheated out of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in tips because of a misleading 17 percent surcharge on food and beverage bills that the club stated was collected “in lieu of a gratuity.” Some club members thought they were effectively paying tips, but the workers didn’t get any of the surcharge money.

The club, which has a no-tipping policy, plans to pay for the settlement in part with the proceeds of a projected sale of one of its buildings at the main clubhouse on Commonwealth Avenue.

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It was not immediately clear how many current and former waitstaff would receive compensation from the settlement.

The case has been amicably resolved,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer representing the workers. She would not comment further on the settlement.

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