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June 24, 2022

Bud’s Goods settles allegation of $33K tip theft

Photo | Grant Welker Bud's Goods in Worcester

Worcester cannabis company Bud’s Goods & Provisions in May settled a citation by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for a violation of the state’s wage and hour laws, after it was found to be withholding tips from employees.

Bud’s withheld more than $33,000 worth of cash tips from employees in its Worcester and Abington locations between March and December 2021, according to the investigation conducted by Matija Zizanovic from the Attorney General’s Office. Those tips were then used to order food for employees, or be converted into up to $60 worth of store credit that the employee could use to buy Bud’s products.

“In mid-July Bud’s started what they call ‘incentives’, where, on an unspecified basis, each employee would be able to ‘cash out’ $60 in tips,” the report notes. “What is meant by ‘cash out’ is that each employee would be able to pick $60 worth of product from the store to take home.” 

The investigation was based on a complaint made to the attorney general’s office, which is listed anonymously in the report.

The cannabis news publication Grown In first broke the news of the investigation and revealed the name of the anonymous tipster.

The attorney general’s investigation notes the motive for the complaint filing came after one day in October where staff made a combined $1,600 tips in one day, which was withheld from them. 

“Our employer is taking our tips,” the initial complaint reads. “They have us put the tips into a lock box, we do not see the money, and we’re not told what was made each shift.”

As a result of the investigation and the subsequent settlement, Bud’s was ordered to reimburse more than 65 of its employees for tips withheld during this period. The amount owed to employees ranged from $20 to $1,500. The settlement was signed by both parties around the start of May. 

Bud’s Goods & Provisions did not respond to WBJ requests for comment.

Bud’s Goods and Services, which has grown rapidly since first opening in 2018, had previously been named Best Marijuana Company by the Worcester Business Journal in its latest Better Business Awards. Since the timeframe of the investigation, it has also opened an additional location in Watertown. 

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