For Immediate Release - September 14, 2011

Fall River Restaurant Ordered to Pay More Than $236,000 in Restitution and Penalties for Violating Massachusetts' Tip and Record Keeping Laws

BOSTON - A Fall River restaurant has been ordered to pay more than $236,000 in restitution and penalties for violating the Commonwealth's tip and record keeping laws, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

The AG's Office cited McGovern's Restaurant of Fall River and its president, Patricia A. McGovern, also of Fall River, for violating the Commonwealth's tip and record keeping laws. The AG's Office ordered McGovern's Restaurant and McGovern to pay $194,435.34 in restitution and a $40,000 penalty for the tip law violations. A $2,000 penalty for failure to furnish records was also ordered.

"Tips belong to employees, not the employer," AG Coakley said. "Many workers in the service and wait staff industries depend on tips - their main wages - to feed their own families and they deserve to be paid what they earn."

In 2009, the AG's Office began investigating McGovern's Restaurant after receiving a complaint that employees were not receiving the proper amount of tips. An audit of the restaurant revealed that McGovern's did not properly distribute the tips received from banquet functions to wait staff employees as required by Massachusetts law. In addition, management was sharing in the tips, which is further prohibited by the statute.

It is a violation of the Commonwealth's tip laws for anyone other than wait staff, service employees, or service bartenders to receive or share tips remitted by patrons. Management and non-service employees are specifically prohibited from receiving or sharing tips.

The Attorney General's Office is responsible for enforcing the Massachusetts wage and hour laws, which include the tip and record keeping laws. Workers who feel that these laws have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General's Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Terri Flanagan Lamarre and Inspector Mario Paiva, both of Attorney General Coakley's Fair Labor Division.

##########