LAS VEGAS -- A lawsuit that accuses Boyd Gaming Corporation of failing to pay overtime wages may proceed as a national class action, a federal judge in Las Vegas has ruled.
Cogburn Law Offices filed the case last year as a type of class action known as a “collective action.” Andrew Rempfer, one of the firm’s attorneys, estimated the case has 15,000 to 25,000 potential class members.
“We’re encouraged, because it’s a nationwide class to recoup money for upward of 20,000 people that we believe Boyd has skimmed for years,” Rempfer said this week.
In an e-mail, Boyd spokesman David Strow said the company has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
The named plaintiffs in the case are six current and former Boyd employees who were not exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to the lawsuit, for years Boyd has intentionally rounded down the working hours of its nonexempt employees to the lower quarter hour.
“Boyd’s practice exclusively benefits and enriches Boyd to its employees’ detriment by resulting in the potential loss of tens (and possibly hundreds) of millions of dollars from its employees’ wages,” the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit also claims Boyd has required nonexempt employees to work off the clock.
According to the document, the illegal practices have occurred nationwide at Boyd’s 22 wholly owned gaming properties in eight states, including Nevada.
Five of the named plaintiffs were employed at The Orleans. Two were bartenders, two were cocktail waitresses and one was a banquet server.
A sixth plaintiff is employed as a bartender at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino.
The lawsuit claims Boyd’s practice of rounding down employees’ hours has caused the plaintiffs “and all others similarly situated” to lose up to 14 minutes of time per shift “and possibly more.”
In addition, the lawsuit claims the plaintiffs worked anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes off the clock each shift.
“Several employees, including Craig Gamble, had or have come forward to complain about these off-the-clock practices,” the lawsuit alleges.
Gamble, the lead plaintiff in the case, was a bartender at The Orleans. He was hired in February 2002 and terminated in February 2013.
U.S. District Judge James Mahan issued an order in early June that gave preliminary approval for class certification.
Regarding the allegation of rounding down employees’ time, Mahan ruled that evidence supports the contention that Boyd’s time-keeping management system constitutes a companywide policy or practice “that deprives hourly, nonexempt employees of wages for time worked.”
But Mahan also concluded the plaintiffs had failed to show the existence of a nationwide policy requiring nonexempt employees to work off the clock.
“However,” he added, “the plaintiffs have made a sufficient showing to justify a collective action for all hourly, nonexempt, cash-handling employees at The Orleans and Gold Coast casinos.”
Mahan ordered Boyd to provide plaintiffs with the names, last-known addresses and email addresses of all potential class members who worked for the company within the three years before the lawsuit was filed.
Those people will be notified about the lawsuit and will have the chance to “opt in” as plaintiffs, Rempfer said.
Cogburn Law Offices has filed other overtime cases in recent months against Circle K Stores Inc., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and Navy Federal Credit Union.