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Wynn tip-sharing policy headed to high court
by Associated Press
Nov 13, 2011 | 1230 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A fight over a tip-pooling policy that forces some Las Vegas Strip casino workers to share their tips with their supervisors is headed to the state Supreme Court after a district court judge overturned previous findings by Nevada’s labor commissioner.

Clark County District Judge Kenneth Cory last week ruled Steve Wynn’s policy, now in place at the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, is contrary to state law. Cory said employees can’t be forced to share tips with supervisors or employees in other kinds of jobs.

“Quite simply, the Nevada Supreme Court has never allowed a mandatory tip-pooling policy that extends beyond the dealer-only pool,” Cory wrote.

A lawyer for Wynn Resorts said the company will appeal.

“Wynn respectfully disagrees ... and intends to appeal the District Court’s rulings to uphold the more appropriate rulings and reasoning of the labor commissioner,” Gregory Kamer, a Las Vegas attorney for Wynn Resorts, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Former Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek last year determined the policy was legal because Wynn Resorts neither retained the tips for its own use nor gained a direct benefit.

Attorneys for the dealers disagreed.

They estimate $5 million per year is being diverted from dealers to supervisors. They also claim the policy first enacted in 2006 at Wynn Las Vegas and at Encore in 2008 was a way to provide raises for supervisors without taking it out of corporate coffers.

Card dealers on the Strip generally make more than their supervisors because of big tips left by gamblers.

Leon Greenberg, a lawyer for the dealers, said Cory also reinstated the lawsuit’s class action status.

“That’s a very important ruling,” Greenberg told the Las Vegas Sun. “Any payment would not go to a limited group of dealers, but Wynn would have to pay all the dealers. The class action is very important to remedy the situation.”

Anger over the tip-sharing policy led to unionizing efforts by dealers at Wynn, who voted in 2008 for collective bargaining representation through the Transport Workers Union of America.

In 2010 dealers approved a 10-year contract, which includes tip sharing.
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