Stueve Siegel Hanson Secures Favorable Ruling in FLSA Lawsuit Against Large Casino Operator
Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP and McClelland Law Firm, P.C recently secured a favorable ruling conditionally certifying two Fair Labor Standards Act claims — failure to provide notice of the FLSA’s tip credit requirements and unlawful tip pooling — in a lawsuit against casino operator Boyd Gaming Corporation.
The decision’s impact spans 13 Boyd Gaming casinos and will allow upwards of 8,000 tipped casino workers across the country to band together in one case to vindicate their minimum wage rights.
The firms filed on behalf of a tipped, sub-minimum wage employee working at Boyd Gaming’s Kansas Star Casino outside Wichita, Kansas for violating the FLSA. The suit alleged the defendants violated the FLSA‘s protections for tipped employees by: (1) paying tipped employees below minimum wage without complying with the FLSA’s tip credit notice requirements; and (2) maintaining a mandatory tip pool that did not comply with the FLSA’s rules because it paid tips out to certain dual job employees who are not customarily and regularly tipped employees and who work in a supervisory capacity. The firms sought to represent other similarly situated current and former employees, which Boyd Gaming opposed.
In opposing class certification, the defendant raised the argument that the plaintiff did not personally know each employees’ experiences at other casinos as he had not worked there. However, in his March 2, 2021 Order, Judge Daniel D. Crabtree, U.S. District Judge for the District of Kansas, rejected that argument, concluding that they had produced “ample evidence supporting an inference that each of the casinos included in this collective – and despite their differences – also have a lot in common. And that’s all plaintiff needs to show for now.”
Significantly, Judge Crabtree also found that notice and opportunity to consent to join via text message and email to class members was appropriate in this case.
The full Order is available here.
This case is part of a larger effort by Stueve Siegel Hanson and McClelland Law Firm to enforce federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws at casinos around the country on behalf of hourly employees who are typically paid less than the federal minimum wage due to the FLSA’s tip-related exceptions.
If you believe you may be eligible to participate in this lawsuit, please complete the contact us form below for additional information and to discuss your options.