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.


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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