Court: Hotel workers may join class action against Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, NV - Beginning August 30, 2013, pursuant to the order of United States District Court Magistrate Judge George Folely, Jr., over 7,000 present and former employees of Deutsche Bank's Cosmopo
Las Vegas, NV – Beginning August 30, 2013, pursuant to the order of United States District Court Magistrate Judge George Folely, Jr., over 7,000 present and former employees of Deutsche Bank’s Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel resort and casino will be mailed a copy of an official federal court notice and given the opportunity to participate in what is likely one of largest wage and overtime lawsuit in Nevada history. According to Plaintiff’s class counsel attorney Mark R. Thierman of Reno, Nevada, the mailing in the case of Darlene Lewis v. Nevada Property 1, LLC, d/b/a the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Nevada federal Court Case No.: 2:12-cv-01564-MMD-GWF, is going forward because the parties failed to reach a satisfactory settlement at mediation. According to Josh Buck, another attorney for the plaintiff class in the case, given the sheer size of the class affected this is likely one of the largest wage hour class action to receive conditional certification and court ordered notice in the history of the state of Nevada. Those who receive notice must complete the form and return it or they will not be entitled to participate in any award of wages, overtime and/or liquidated damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal wage hour law. State law claims, including a claim for 30 days of pay for any employee who was terminated by the employer without payment in full of the wages he or she was due under this lawsuit, will be litigated later.
The lawsuit seeks over 70 Million dollars for employees who, according to company documents, were required to change into and out of company uniforms on site without compensation. Some of these employees were also required to pick up, reconcile and drop off their “cash bank” at designated cashier locations “off the clock” before they clocked in and/or after they clocked out for the day. The suit also alleges a miscalculation of the overtime rate of pay. In addressing Defendant’s denial of liability the federal court order stated: “Defendant’s argument would be more persuasive were it not for the “CoStar Guidebook” which stated that ‘all CoStars provided with uniforms are expected to report to the Garment District daily to obtain the uniform for the day and return the uniform to The Garment District at the end of the shift.'” Thierman added, “Defendant broke the law, then documented it, and now claims it didn’t happen—that’s absurd.”
The case arose from the Cosmopolitan’s August 2011 decision to terminate Melodee Megia a “room service sales clerk” in her ninth month of pregnancy, on the grounds she said “bye-bye” instead of “good bye” after she finished taking a customer’s order over the phone. Represented by the same attorneys, Megia filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in Nevada State Court in Clark County based upon a series of offensive remarks by her supervisor and the trivial nature of the company’s reason for her termination. Her complaint also alleged the employer required workers to work off the clock without compensation in violation of state labor laws. The Megia case was widely reported especially in the Filipino community, which represents a large percentage of the service worker industry and has a long history of respecting traditional family values like motherhood. Ms. Lewis’ complaint was filed subsequently in federal court because she alleged federal law violations from working employees off the clock claims as well.
Although local papers report union organizing continues at the hotel, the two actions do not claim to be related. It’s more than a coincidence that those who were mistreated at work would seek union representation, said attorney Thierman, but there is no official link between our litigation and the union’s organizing attempt.