News Release

Massachusetts, New Hampshire frozen yogurt business pays $10K in punitive damages, $1,978 in back pay to employee who asserted their rights to tips

Tutti Frutti franchisee also pays nearly $13K to 19 employees for tip violations

BOSTON – When the owner of three Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt shops in Massachusetts and New Hampshire terminated an employee who asserted their rights to the tips they had earned, the company violated anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and found themselves facing costly consequences after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation. 

The department’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer failed to keep complete tip records and admitted they kept a portion of employees’ tips and used the tips for business expenses. The FLSA prohibits owners and managers from participating in tip pools and keeping any portion of an employee’s tips for any purpose. 

In an administrative settlement with the division, TF Holyoke LLC, doing business as Tutti Frutti in Hadley and Holyoke, Massachusetts and Newington, New Hampshire, has paid $6,438 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 19 employees at the Holyoke location. The settlement also requires Tutti Frutti to pay the unlawfully terminated employee $10,000 in punitive damages and $1,978 in back pay for the period during which the employee was looking for a new job after the retaliatory discharge. The department also assessed $1,064 in civil money penalties against the employer for the tip violations.

“Retaliation against an employee who asserts their Fair Labor Standards Act rights is against the law, and the Wage and Hour Division will pursue appropriate remedies for employees,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Carlos Matos in Boston. “In this case, an employee received $10,000 in punitive damages for being terminated after inquiring about how and when tips would be distributed. In total, this employer paid $24,854 for tip and anti-retaliation violations of the FLSA.

Workers and employers can contact the division confidentially at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including the agency’s restaurant compliance assistance toolkit, an overview of FLSA protections for restaurant workers and Workers Owed Wages, a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers and employers alike can help track their hours worked and pay by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.  

Wage and Hour Division
March 7, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: James C. Lally
Phone Number
Media Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
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