One-third of the 20 percent service charges billed to patrons at banquets was withheld, said Anthony Chavarry of Dalton, who was the whistleblower and leading plaintiff on behalf of the workers.
“…only employees directly involved in service to customers are entitled to share tips — waitpersons, bartenders and buspersons are included. But food and beverage service managers, sales staff and others are not entitled to any portion of gratuities…”
The Crowne Plaza Hotel, owned by the Berkshire Common Corp., has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed at Berkshire Superior Court in November 2009 on behalf of 150 current and former employees who served customers at banquets between November 2006 and June 2010 at the city’s largest lodging establishment.
The $1.3 million settlement, which awaits expected final approval at a fairness hearing May 1, includes legal fees. The workers will share about $850,000, depending upon the amount of time they were employed at the hotel during the period covered by the lawsuit, said attorney Paul Holtzman of the Boston firm Krokidas and Bluestein, which specializes in employment law.
Some employees may see payouts in the tens of thousands of dollars, he said. After the settlement gains the final green light from Berkshire Superior Court, Berkshire Common is required to send out settlement checks by Oct. 17, according to court documents. Copies of the settlement documents are in the mail to the employees affected.
The hotel does not admit any liability, according to the class-action settlement documents.