A dealer at MGM Springfield, one of Massachusetts’ two Las Vegas-style commercial casino resorts, is suing the property, arguing that he has consistently been paid less than minimum wage by its employer.
Shawn Connors started working at the Springfield-based casino shortly before it opened doors in late August 2018.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in the US District Court for Massachusetts, Connors said that he is entitled to more than what he receives from his employer. The dealer noted in his federal lawsuit that he is paid approximately $5 per hour because he also receives tips.
It is a common practice for employees to be paid lower rates if they also receive tips. However, under federal law, employers are obligated to inform workers that they would receive lower basic wages due to the fact that they get tips.
Connors’ lawsuit does not specify whether he would have taken a job as a dealer at MGM Springfield, if he had been presented with details of the pay structure implemented by his employer. Filings also do not note how much the casino dealer earns in tips. He still works at the downtown Springfield casino, despite his protests against his base pay.
Commenting on the lawsuit, Connors’ attorney, Benjamin Knox Steffans, said that his client’s expectation “like all employees, is that they’ll be paid consistent with federal wage and hour laws.” However, that turned out not to be the case, Steffans went on.
A Class Action Lawsuit
Connors’ attorney asked the court to treat the case as a class action lawsuit, arguing that at least a hundred other employees at the casino resort have been paid in the same or a similar manner. The lawsuit also accuses MGM Springfield of underpaying employees who get tips and work overtime.
In addition, Connors claimed that the casino operation improperly deducts employee licensing fees from its staff’s wages.
The lawsuit does not include a specific amount sought in damages, but says that these should include the difference between Connors and other employees’ actual pay and what they are entitled to earn under law. The suit also seeks interest and asks MGM Springfield to be ordered to cover attorneys fees and other costs.
MGM Springfield has not responded in court. A spokesperson for the property said in a statement to local media that “having just received this filing, we will investigate and respond accordingly.”
MGM Springfield was the first full-blown casino resort to open doors in Massachusetts as part of the state’s commercial casino expansion effort. As mentioned above, the property welcomed its first visitors in August 2018.
Up until early this summer, MGM Springfield was the only property in Massachusetts to offer full-scale casino experience, that is to say slot machines and table games. A rival property – Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor – opened doors along the Mystic River in the Greater Boston area this past June.
Source: MGM Springfield dealer says casino is breaking wage law, The Boston Globe
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