Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C.
Pyle, Rome, Lichten, Ehrenberg & Liss-Riordan, P.C The Labor, Employment and Class Action Attorneys
Shannon Liss-Riordan

Shannon Liss-Riordan’s practice concentrates on class action litigation involving failure to pay wages, overtime, gratuities, minimum wage, and misclassification of employees as independent contractors.  She represents employees throughout Massachusetts and nationally.

Since 2001, Ms. Liss-Riordan has achieved pioneering successes developing the law protecting tipped employees.  She has represented thousands of servers in cases against restaurants, hotels, and other establishments for depriving employees of the full proceeds of customer tips or service charges.  She has obtained dozens of court-approved class action settlements on behalf of waitstaff, she has won precedent-setting appeals, she has won many tips cases on summary judgment, and she has won jury verdicts in three of the first tips cases to go to trial, on behalf of function servers at the Hilltop Steak House (2006), waiters at the Federalist restaurant (2007), and skycaps at Logan Airport (2008). In 2011, she won a case (affirmed on appeal) against Starbucks on behalf of all baristas across Massachusetts for improperly including supervisors in the tip pool.

Ms. Liss-Riordan is a frequent national and local lecturer on employment law and class action litigation for the American Bar Association, National Employment Lawyers Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. Each year since 2008, she has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America (Chambers) and she has been listed by the Boston Globe Magazine as one of "Boston's Best Lawyers"; she has been named a "Super Lawyer" by Boston Magazine each year since 2005; and she was named one of ten "Lawyers of the Year" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2002. 

In 2009, Ms. Liss-Riordan was included on “The Power List", Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s "roster of the state's most influential attorneys." She was described as a “Tenacious class-action plaintiffs’ lawyer [who] strikes fear in big-firm employment attorneys throughout Boston with her multi-million-dollar victories on behalf of strippers, waiters, skycaps and other non-exempt employees.”

in the news | major cases | education | bar & court admissions

In the News

2014 Top Women of Law
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | December, 2014

Lawyer fights for low-wage workers' rights
Boston Globe | December, 2012

The worker's champion
CommonWealth Magazine | July, 2013

Extra large mushroom - with an ownership share
Harvard Bulletin | May, 2013

Audio clipBroadside: Fighting for fairness for Boston cabbies
New England Cable News | April, 2013

Audio clipVideo
Tip scams revealed
TedX Beacon Street | November, 2012

Shannon Liss-Riordan - Legal person of the year, 2011
Blue MauMau | December, 2011

Skycaps and waiters find a legal champion
(See front page of Boston Globe)
Boston Globe | April, 2008

Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan:
Challenging Corporate Power and Tips Abuse

Lawyers and Settlements | April, 2008

Audio clip Audio Interview
Battle of the Lawyers, sponsored by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly: Shannon Liss-Riordan recreates closing argument in American Airlines skycaps tips case (second presenter)
WBUR | November, 2010





Attorney suing Uber, Lyft in independent contractor case won similar fights for FedEx drivers, strippers (Video)
San Francisco Business Times | February, 2015

Before Uber revolutionizes labor, it's going to have to explain these embarrassing emails
The Verge | January, 2015

Internal Uber e-mails reflect company's brash reputation
SF Gate | January, 2015

Suits seek to force Lyft and Uber to treat drivers as employees
Buzzfeed | January, 2015

This Boston lawyer could be Uber's nemesis as it eyes expansion
Xconomy | May, 2014

In tougher market, taxi drivers sue Chicago cab companies
WBEZ 91.5 | March, 2014

Skycap who was fired after lawsuit awarded nearly $1M
Boston Globe | March, 2014

Ritz-Carlton to pay $1.8M to settle gratuities suit
Law360 | March, 2014

TGI Friday's workers sue
NECN | January, 2014

Workers sue TGI Fridays for wage violations
Boston Globe | January, 2014

Nurses suing Baystate Health
WWLP 22 News| December, 2013

From lawyer to professional foodie
Liz Brown, JD, Blog | November, 2013

Topsfield, Marshfield fair lawsuit moves to federal court
Boston Business Journal | October, 2013

DOL goes to bat for tipped workers | September, 2013

Lawsuit alleges Uber unfairly withholds tips from drivers
San Francisco Bay Guardian | August, 2013

Hawaii high court oks worker wage suits over state tip law
Law 360 | July, 2013

Judge freezes assets of Boston's taxi king
Boston Globe | June, 2013

Local carnival co. faces suit over low wages
Daily News | June, 2013

Carnival operators sued over wage law
Boston Globe | June, 2013

Upper Crust pizza case now topped with poetic justice
Boston Globe (editorial) | December, 2012

Upper Crust chain divided up at auction
Boston Globe | December, 2012

Upper Crust ordeal intensifies
Open Media Boston | November, 2012

Doors shut at 10 Upper Crust restaurants, about 140 employees are out of work
Boston Globe | November, 2012

Another lawsuit filed on wage issues of cab drivers
Dorchester Reporter | November, 2012

First Circuit affirms win for Starbucks baristas over tip-sharing
National Law Journal | November, 2012

Court: Starbucks owes more than $14m to Mass. baristas
Boston Globe | November, 2012

Starbucks sued by Baristas, managers over tip-sharing | October, 2012

Shannon Liss-Riordan on Upper Crust bankruptcy (audio interview)
CBS News | October, 2012

Food service workers sue Progressive Gourmet
Boston Globe | October, 2012

Coverall to pay triple damages
Blue MauMau | March, 2012

Shannon Liss-Riordan on cab drivers lawsuit (Audio)
NPR News | March, 2012

Boston cabdrivers sue city and fleet owners
Boston Globe | March, 2012

Judge certifies class of cleaning workers misclassified as 'franchisees'
National Law Journal | February, 2012

Exotic dancers score class cert. in FLSA action
Law 360| November, 2011

Exotic dancers stripped of their rights are leading the fight to save class-action suits
New Haven Advocate | August, 2011

Stripper FLSA suit raises new arbitration issues: Judge
Law 360 | June, 2011

Stripper 'Consultant' strikes back against boss
The Fiscal Times | March, 2011

Starbucks unfairly split Mass. Baristas' tips: Judge
Employment Law 360 | February, 2011

Exotic dancers claim clubs break labor laws by not paying wages
Connecticut Law Tribune | January, 2011

Lord & Taylor sued over lunch pay
Boston Herald | January, 2011

Multiple Venues Key to Workers' New Litigation Plan
Law 360 | January, 2011

Judge strikes class-action restriction in wage disputes
Lawyers Weekly | November, 2010

Worker lawsuit vs. Upper Crust to go forward
Boston Herald | September, 2010

US Labor Dept. investigating Upper Crust chain
Boston Globe | July, 2010

Suit alleges Upper Crust took back workers' pay
Boston Globe | July, 2010

What's next: The plaintiff's perspective - Employment Reclassification Case Targets Labor Abuses by 'Franchisers'
Bulletproof Blog | June, 2010

Shannon Liss-Riordan discusses Awuah and other issues
LJN's Franchising Business & Law Alert | June, 2010

Little Ferry man sues over back pay (Robert Half Staffing Managers overtime case) | May, 2010

When franchisees are ruled employees, all bets are off
Franchise Times | May, 2010

Boston Duck Tours hit with Wage Act suit
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly| April, 2010

Franchisees miscast as independent contractors
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly| April, 2010

Airlines scoop tips from skycaps
Lawyers and Settlements | February, 2010

Stripped by the boss
Boston Globe Editorial | August, 2009

Patrick to appeal ruling on police, firefighter exams
Boston Globe | May, 2009

Amended suit charges TripAdvisor with retaliation
The Boston Globe | March, 2009

Mass. high court orders certification of Wal-Mart meal breaks class action
National Law Journal | September, 2008

Ex-editor challenges TripAdvisor labor policies
Boston Globe | July, 2008

‘Independent contractor’ litigation heats up
Lawyers USA | April, 2008

Female officers get 2d chance in suit over locker rooms
Boston Globe | March, 2008

Click Here for news prior to 2008

Lawyer of the Year
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | December, 2002

Harvey A. Schwartz, Boston employment and civil rights lawyer, on Shannon Liss-Riordan ...
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | December, 2002

Major Cases


Don DiFiore et al. v. American Airlines (U.S. Dist. Ct. Mass. 2008) (jury verdict in favor of skycaps, finding that airline violated state tips law and interfered with skycaps' relationship with passengers by charging $2 per bag and not allowing skycaps to keep the proceeds of the charge)

Donald Benoit et al. v. The Federalist, Inc., (Suffolk Superior Court 2007) (jury verdict in favor of class of Federalist restaurant waitstaff who did not receive total proceeds of service charges added to function bills)

Janet Calcagno et al. v. High Country Investor, Inc., (Essex Superior Court 2006) (approximately $2 million jury verdict in favor of class of Hilltop Steak House servers who did not receive total proceeds of service charges added to function bills and four lead plaintiffs who were terminated in retaliation for their complaints)

Jacob Bradley et al. v. City of Lynn et al., 443 F.Supp.2d 145 (D.Mass. 2006) (following class action bench trial, court found that civil service exam had disparate impact on minorities, resulting in $2.15 million court-approved settlement, including the statewide hiring of more than 60 minority firefighters and police officers)

Joseph Collins v. Commonwealth, (Suffolk Superior Court 2007) (jury verdict in favor of state police trooper who had been disqualified from employment because of his kidney transplant, resulting in judgment of more than $400,000)

John Bingham v. Lynn Sand & Stone, 93-BEM-1491 (MCAD 2003) (finding of discrimination by MCAD after public hearing that company failed to hire African American truck driver applicant because of his race)

Gilbert Hernandez v. Winthrop Printing Co. (Suffolk Superior Court 2002) (jury verdict in favor of Native American/Mexican plaintiff who was terminated in retaliation for complaining of race discrimination)

John Sprague v. United Airlines, Inc., 2002 WL 1803733 (D. Mass 2002) (judgment of $1.1 million in a discrimination case brought by deaf airline mechanic who had been denied employment based on disability)

Richard Dahill v. Boston Police Department, 434 Mass. 233 (2001) (Supreme Judicial Court decided that Massachusetts law would diverge from federal law in prohibiting discrimination against individuals with correctable disabilities, resulting in hiring of hearing-impaired police officer candidate and jury verdict of $850,000, excluding interest and fees)


Awuah et al. v. Coverall North America, Inc., 2009 WL 159423 (1st Cir. 2009) (First Circuit affirmed trial court's ruling that court, rather than arbitrator, may decide whether arbitration clause is unconscionable)

Salvas et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 452 Mass. 337 (2008) (amicus) (Supreme Judicial Court reversed trial court's decertification of wage and hour class action)

King et al. v. City of Boston, 71 Mass.App.Ct. 460 (2008) (Appeals Court reversed grant of summary judgment in sex discrimination suit, finding that plaintiffs could show that Boston Police Department discriminated against female superior officers by not providing them with separate locker rooms)

Joseph Skirchak et al. v. Dynamics Research Corporation, Inc., 432 F.Supp.2d 175 (D.Mass. 2006), affirmed 508 F.3d 49 (1st Cir. 2007) (court held that class action waiver contained in employer’s mandatory arbitration policy was unenforceable and employees could pursue FLSA overtime claims in class arbitration)

Beverly Cooney et al. v. Compass Group Foodservice, et al., 69 Mass.App.Ct. 632 (2007) (Appeals Court held that servers were entitled as a matter of law to receive proceeds of service charges added to function bills at Northeastern University’s Henderson House conference center, reversing lower court’s ruling that case presented fact issue for trial)

Samantha Smith et al. v. Winter Place LLC d/b/a Locke-Ober Co., Inc., 447 Mass. 363 (2006) (Supreme Judicial Court held that employees are engaged in protected activity, and cannot be retaliated against, when they complain about alleged wage violations, even if they do not raise these complaints with the Attorney General)

Richard Gasior v. Massachusetts General Hospital, 446 Mass. 645 (2006) (Supreme Judicial Court held that discrimination claim survives the death of the plaintiff, including claim for punitive damages)

Coverall North America, Inc. v. Com’r of Div. of Unemployment, 447 Mass. 852 (2006) (amicus) (Supreme Judicial Court held that “franchisee” cleaning worker was employee entitled to unemployment compensation upon termination, not independent contractor)

Other Significant Rulings

Mark Johnson et al. v. Morton’s Restaurant Group (American Arbitration Association 2007) (arbitration award certifying national class of servers challenging restaurant chain’s policy of servers tipping out managers)

Don DiFiore et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., 483 F.Supp.2d 121 (D.Mass. 2007) (skycaps’ claim that airline’s $2 baggage charge interfered with their tips was not preempted by Airline Deregulation Act, and employees could pursue claim under state tips law and common law)

Manuel Fernandez et al. v. Four Seasons Hotel, Inc., (Suffolk Superior Court 2007) (court granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiff servers, holding that hotel’s distribution of a portion of banquet service charges to managers violated Massachusetts tips law)

Paul Shea et al. v. Weston Golf Club, (Middlesex Superior Court 2007) (court granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiff servers, holding that private club’s failure to distribute to servers revenues listed as service charges on members’ bills violated Massachusetts tips law)

Michalak et al. v. Boston Palm Corporation, 2004 WL 2915452 (court granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiff servers, holding that distribution of portions of function service charge to catering manager and kitchen staff violated Massachusetts tips law)

Williamson et al. v. DT Management Co. d/b/a Boston Harbor Hotel, Inc., 2004 WL 1050582 (court held that hotel violated Massachusetts tips law by distributing portions of service charges to managers, assistant managers, and catering coordinators)

O’Neill v. Commonwealth, 2002 WL 342675 (D.Mass. 2002), and Moore v. Commonwealth, (D. Mass. 2002) (preliminary injunctions ordering the reinstatement of two state police recruits who had been disqualified in violation of their First Amendment rights)

Simms v. City of New York, 160 F.Supp.2d 398 (E.D.N.Y. 2001) (court granted partial summary judgment to plaintiff New York firefighter who had been placed on permanent light duty because of his diabetes, resulting in his return to full duty)


  • Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1996
  • Harvard College, A.B., magna cum laude, 1990

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, since 1999
  • Member, State Bar of New York, since 1999
  • Admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. District Court of Massachusetts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

Ms. Liss-Riordan was a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge
Nancy F. Atlas in Houston, Texas, from 1996-98.

Shannon Liss-Riordan

Shannon Liss-Riordan

tel 617-994-5800

Practice Areas

Represents employees in class action wage and hour litigation, including tip violations, independent contractor misclassification, and other wage violations.

Staff Assistant

Philip Acevedo



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