Wynn Resorts Ltd, a global developer of high-end hotels and casinos, has been hit with a lawsuit by Sheila Little from Clark County, Nevada, for allegedly violating labor laws. Little’s attorneys claim that Wynn Las Vegas management forced her and her colleagues to share their tips with slot leads and managers, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The attorneys are seeking class action recognition for the lawsuit, which could represent other slot officials like Little.
The lawsuit, which was filed last Thursday, seeks damages exceeding $15,000, compensatory damages equal to the full amount of tips unlawfully withheld from Little and other employees, and punitive damages. This lawsuit is similar to a claim made by table games dealers against Wynn, which the company settled in March 2021 by paying 1,000 dealers $5.6 million, including former dealers.
Wynn representatives have not commented on the latest lawsuit. However, Little’s attorneys are attempting to void the policy via lawsuits, much like the dealers at Wynn and Encore who attempted to overturn the policy applied by company co-founder Steve Wynn in 2006, with lawsuits filed in 2013 and 2018. At the time, Wynn implemented the mandatory tip pooling and tip confiscation policy, which deprived tipped employees of their lawfully earned tips, according to the lawsuit.
Steve Wynn created the tipping policy, which came with a team leader position to replace both floor supervisors and pit bosses when he founded the company. Wynn believed that dealers earned more money than their supervisors, which led to a demotivation among employees from moving up through the ranks. In 2018, Matt Maddox, who replaced Steve Wynn as CEO, introduced a new policy that mandated dealers to share about 12% of their pooled tips with casino service team leads, who were supervisors according to dealers.
The policy sparked two federal lawsuits filed in 2013 and 2018 by dealers against the company. They hoped to recover up to $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 March 2021, Gordon signed an order stating that “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.”
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