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July 5, 2024

Judge Declines to Certify Nationwide Collective Action in Cannabis Dispensary Tip Theft Case

Employees of Curaleaf alleged that their managers stole their tips.
Home » News » Judge Declines to Certify Nationwide Collective Action in Cannabis Dispensary Tip Theft Case

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Rachel B. Lerner
Fri., July 5, 2024

Employees of Curaleaf, a company that produces, dispenses, and sells cannabis products, sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The budtenders alleged that their managers stole their tips. The employees sought nationwide collective action certification, arguing that Curaleaf subjected all budtenders to the same general tip policies and practices.

A federal judge in Illinois conditionally certified a collective action of Curaleaf employees in Illinois, Arizona, and Massachusetts, based on declarations from employees who worked in those states. The judge declined to certify a collective of all Curaleaf employees nationwide, finding that there was not enough evidence that employees in other states also experienced tip theft. The judge declined to infer that the common policy regarding tip confiscation occurred at all Curaleaf locations across the country.  Curaleaf operates dispensaries in 17 states in addition to Illinois, Arizona, and Massachusetts. The judge’s ruling means that budtenders in these other 17 states will not receive notice of the Curaleaf lawsuit. They are free to retain counsel of their choosing and file their own claims in the appropriate court.

McGillivary Steele Elkin LLP (“MSE”) represents workers nationwide who have not been paid properly by their employers, including those who have had their tips stolen or retained by management. For example, MSE represents budtenders who work for R. Greenleaf cannabis dispensaries in New Mexico who alleged that their employer forced them to participate in a tip pool that unlawfully included management employees. As a result of MSE’s successful prosecution of that case, 250 R. Greenleaf budtenders are part of a settlement class.  Following final approval of the settlement, these R. Greenleaf budtenders will receive their portion of a $525,000.00 settlement.  MSE also represents budtenders who work for High Horse dispensaries who allege that the company stole their tips.  The High Horse case was filed last month, and is in the early stages of litigation.

If you work for a cannabis dispensary and have had tips stolen, are part of a tip pool that includes management, or have other wage and hour violations, contact us online or at

Legal Representation for All Workers

When McGillivary Steele Elkin LLP decides to take your case, it is because we believe there is an unacceptable workplace violation that has negatively impacted you or resulted in your employer paying less than what the law requires and which we have a reasonable chance of remedying. We recognize that meritorious claims should not go unremedied because of the level of a person’s resources.

To ensure accessible and available legal representation for all our clients, MSE handles cases through different forms of fee arrangements, including contingency fees, hourly fees and fixed fees.

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