Sheila Little, a woman from Clark County, Nevada filed a lawsuit against Wynn Resorts Ltd, a globally recognized developer of high quality hotels and casinos, claiming that “the company violated labor laws by pooling tips paid to slot machine attendants and sharing the money with their supervisors.”
Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act:
Sheila Little attorneys assert that “management at Wynn Las Vegas violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing her and her peers to share a portion of their tips with slot leads and managers.”
In this regard, they said: “The lawsuit is similar to a claim made by table games dealers against Wynn that was settled by the company in March 2021 by paying 1,000 dealers, including former dealers, $5.6 million.”
However, Wynn representatives didn’t make any comment on Monday regarding this latest lawsuit.
On the other hand, Henderson’s attorneys Kaine Messer and Christian Gabroy want the lawsuit recognized as a class action representing other slot officials like Little.
Sheila Little’s lawsuit:
On Thursday, the lawsuit was filed in the District Court “seeking damage in excess of $15,000, compensatory damages equal to the full sum of tips unlawfully withheld from Little and all other similarly situated employees and punitive damages.”
The lawsuit alleges: “Wynn applied a mandatory tip pooling and tip confiscation policy … which deprived tipped employees of lawfully earned tips in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” and is similar to the 2021 lawsuit.
Attempting to void the policy via lawsuits:
Dealers at Wynn and Encore attempted to overturn the policy applied by company co-founder and previous chairman and CEO Steve Wynn in 2006, with lawsuits filed in 2013 and 2018. Furthermore, Steve Wynn officially started the tipping policy because, along with tips, each hourly-paid dealer made more money than their supervisor.
When Steve Wynn started this policy, he at the same time set up a team leader position to replace both floor supervisors and pit bosses.
The property opened in 2005 and attracted huge crowds of well-tipped gamblers. However, Wynn believed that dealers earned much more than their supervisors and that this demotivated employees from moving up through the ranks.
In addition, a new policy introduced by Matt Maddox, who replaced Steve Wynn as CEO in 2018, wanted the turmoil to end after two months of his tenure.
Because of this, Maddox increased the dealers’ wages by $2 an hour, the equivalent of an annual growth of approximately $4,000. This wage increase was the dealer’s first increase in nearly a decade.
The new policy mandated that “dealers share about 12 percent of their pooled tips with the casino service team leads,” who according to dealers were supervisors.
Because of the new policy, Wynn was the only casino operator on the Strip to include the position of casino service team leader and the only one who permitted other employees to share dealer tips.
In connection with the aforementioned lawsuits in 2013 and 2018, dealers filed two federal lawsuits in 2013 and 2018 against the company in hopes of recovering as much as $50 million in lost tips. The lawsuit eventually made its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent it back to U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon.
In an order signed in March 2021, Gordon said: “The court finds the proposed settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act for those collective action members, all of whom are current or former employees of (the) defendant, that elect to participate in such settlement.”