It’s shaping up to be one of the biggest Fair Labor Standards Act class actions of the year – and certainly one of the biggest in the history of the state of Nevada.
U.S. Magistrate Judge, George Foley Jr., granted conditional and class certification to plaintiffs, who allege that the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas underpaid them. The giant resort, which opened in December 2010, is valued at $3.9 billion. According to Attorney Joshua Buck, who’s helping to lead the class action, “it’s pay for time owed, and pay for work done… we’re trying to get people unpaid wages for time they’ve already worked.”
So what exactly happened? Will the 7,158 current and ex-employees of the Cosmopolitan collect $70 million plus in back wages?
Although the numbers are staggering, the alleged violation is mundane – almost forgettable to the untrained eye. Employees allegedly had to get into their uniforms before they clocked in… and then to undress and return certain items (e.g. radio, keys, cash banks, etc.) after they clocked out. In fact, the handbook for the resort told employees “leave yourself extra time” to get dressed “so that you’re able to report to your work station at the start of your shift.”
According to the local attorneys handling this case, employees spent up to half an hour before every shift getting their uniforms and getting dressed. They spent around the same amount of time after clocking out getting undressed and putting uniforms away. That may not sound like much time. But an extra hour a day could amount to $21 a day, per employee, since it would be considered an overtime hour and paid at time-and-a-half of the standard $14/hr wage.
When you consider that 2,000+ employees might have gone in and out of the dressing area every day for 2.5 years… that’s a lot of unpaid hours!
Attorney Buck summarized the situation: “what we’re learning with these off-the-clock cases is that employers are trying to nickel and dime employees to get them to do a little extra on the front and back end… in reality, it saves the company a lot of money.”
Mirrors Abuses We’ve Seen in New York City Wage And Hour Cases
While we obviously can’t comment on this case without scrutinizing the details, the Joseph & Kirschenbaum team is no stranger to these kinds of “nickel and dime” wage and hour cases.
Often, employers think they can “slightly cheat” the system by telling workers to get dressed off the clock – or to clean their uniforms with pocket money. Service workers, meanwhile, just want to keep their jobs, which can be very competitive to get. So employers count on the workers being meek and keeping quite to perpetuate the nickel and diming.
It doesn’t have to keep going on like this.
If you or your loved one has been traumatized by unfair employment practices, such as discrimination, harassment, tip pool violations, or wage and hour violations per the FLSA or New York labor law – or even if you just suspect that “something’s not right” at work – please get in touch with the Joseph & Kirschenbaum team today by calling (212) 688-5640 or connecting with us online at firstname.lastname@example.org.