Wynn Resorts has settled a pair of class action lawsuits with current and former table game dealers at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. The lawsuits, which date back to 2013 and 2018, claim that the company unjustly took a share of the dealers’ tips.
In the settlement, reached with a mediator from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Wynn has agreed to pay the approximately 1,000 dealers part of $5.6 million. $1.4 million will go to attorney fees, $10,000 will be used to pay settlement administrator fees, and $10,000 to the plaintiffs of the original lawsuits, Joseph Cesarz and Quy Ngoc Tang. With the remaining funds, each of the dealers in the class action will get a bit over $4,100. The dealers can reject the offer and file their own suits if they choose.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon signed the settlement order, which read:
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.
The dispute goes back to a policy implemented in 2006 by former CEO Steve Wynn. Wynn replaced the position of both pit boss and floor supervisor with a role called a “team lead.” At the same time, he required that dealers share 12 percent of their tips with these team leads because – get this – he believed the dealers had been getting tipped so generously that he feared they wouldn’t be motivated to move up the ranks.
Supervisors are not permitted to share in the tip pool, but Wynn Resorts argued that team leads are not supervisors, as they can’t discipline dealers, don’t set dealer schedules, and don’t have any control over pay.
The dealers were looking to be reimbursed for as much as $50 million in lost tips. In 2018, one dealer estimated that she lost $100,000 in tips to the team leads.
CEO Matt Maddox, who took over after Steve Wynn was dismissed in 2018, tried to appease the dealers by giving them a $2 per hour raise. It was their first raise in about ten years. The extra $4,000 or so a year is nice, but it did not stop the lawsuits.
That said, Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver e-mailed the Las Vegas Review-Journal Tuesday, saying, “We are pleased that all of the parties worked cooperatively to reach a resolution and bring this matter to an amiable conclusion.”