Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas facing wage, overtime lawsuit

The Cosmopolitan.

A fired worker is suing the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, claiming she and other employees weren’t paid for all hours worked and were shorted on overtime.

A suit seeking class-action status to represent hourly workers at the property was filed in Clark County District Court on Friday by Melodee Megia. The potential class of plaintiffs would consist of more than 3,000 of the property’s 4,300 employees, the suit says.

Megia is represented by Reno attorney Mark Thierman, who specializes in wage lawsuits against companies.

The suit asserts claims litigated in recent years against other companies, including casinos.

They include allegations that:

• The hotel required uniformed employees to change into their uniforms at a common locker room but didn’t pay them for the changing time, time spent waiting for their uniforms and time walking from the locker area to their work stations.

• The property’s timekeeping system always rounded work hours in favor of the Cosmopolitan and, because it is based on 15-minute increments, employees could lose an hour of pay a day given that they punch in and out four times a day, including for meal breaks.

• The workers were shorted on overtime pay because of the uniform-changing and time-rounding policies.

• Workers were also shorted on overtime pay because of a system in which hotel guests who ordered room service were charged for a service charge, or mandatory gratuity. Part of this tip was paid to hotel workers. But, the suit alleges, the hotel failed to include such “bonuses/commissions” in the regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime pay.

Cosmopolitan attorneys have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

The company policy is to not comment on pending litigation, a Cosmopolitan spokeswoman said Monday.

Last week, the company disclosed it had received notice of the suit before it was filed.

“The company received a notice of intent to file a class action lawsuit related to unpaid compensation for time incurred by employees while on property for donning and doffing of the employees’ required uniform and alleged improper rounding of time for hours worked. The company is in the process of evaluating the notice of intent and cannot at this time determine the potential impact of the notice of intent to sue on the condensed consolidated financial position, cash flows, or the results of operations of the company,” the Cosmopolitan said in Wednesday’s quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The suit demands employees be paid the alleged wages and overtime due them, which are unspecified, and that the property pay their attorney fees.

Besides her class-action wage claims, Megia claims in the suit she was subjected to pregnancy discrimination and was wrongfully fired in September because of her pregnancy.

“The stated reason for plaintiff’s termination was that she said ‘bye bye’ instead of ‘good bye’ on the telephone to a room service customer,” the suit says. “This was merely a pretext as plaintiff had been subject to harassing conduct.”

The suit claims Megia actually was fired because of her pregnancy, which had advanced to eight months, “and the medical costs and other inherent costs.”

Megia claims in the suit a supervisor regularly criticized her for getting pregnant. In one alleged instance, the suit says Megia was told to deliver a “pleasure packet” of condoms to a hotel customer and the supervisor said: “Isn’t it too late for that? You should have thought about it before getting knocked up.”



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Discussion 8 comments

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  1. Next thing you know the attorney will be asking for the tax credit the Cosmo received for hiring personnel where the number one priority was not qualifications. If they had hired based on qualifications they may not be facing this lawsuit. You get what you get when you allow the government to dictate who you should hire.

  2. There is no way of knowing the truth here as I and likely none of the readers know the personnel involved or the actual behavior. Experience tells me there will be a measurable amount of truth on both sides.

    The service industry is besieged with union agitators and could be little else considering the union in question and their leadership or should I say marxist agitators in charge. Employees are taught to believe they have little responsibility except to show up and do enough to get by, less if possible.

    Employers live with the reality that in most businesses labor is their single largest expense by far and often the difference between profit and loss. In tough times when revenues and cash flow are down they have to limit labor expense in order to survive and of course those that are the least productive are the first to be considered for termination. Sometimes a poor attitude on the part of a supervisor or manager creates or exacerbates difficult conditions unnecessarily.

    Sometimes employees intentionally agitate with the thought in mind that the company represents uncaring bosses in a company with plenty of money wile they have none.

    Sometimes companies have tough policies that restrict hourly wage employees in ways that seem unfair to the employee who neither understands the pressure on the company nor cares. When quarterly losses are in the tens or hundreds of millions, investors threaten to leave, shareholders are selling when they can and creditors are threatening to take over a business they don't want in hopes of recovering some of their capital before it's too late, employees aren't concerned with little besides 'where's mine'?

    Go to a right to work state and a union state and compare similar businesses to see the real world difference of how both sides conduct themselves.

    While suing the employer in a class action suit or more likely threatening to as a matter of strategy may seem like a good tactic to the lawyers who stand to make exorbitant fees and who care little for the employees (pawns to them) except as a meal ticket, it sometimes backfires leaving job openings to be filled and nothing to show for all the noise made but headaches and unpaid bills.

    Strangely, their always some who seem to smile, get along, be appreciated and prosper due to their good attitudes, personal pride in their conduct and loyalty to their employer or their employees as well as their company, a difficult wire to walk for some.

    In the end, little will be gained by a suit as regardless who wins and who losses in court, both will loose in the end.

    As always, the only winners here will be the shylocks who take money from both or either side, not really caring who wins as long as they don't lose their meal ticket.

  3. Not sure what to think of getting paid to change into a uniform, I understand why they may want changing on site as to keep track of uniforms and keep them cleaned properly. The rounding works both ways, I did 10th hours when I had a bunch of employees. There is more going on then is stated in this article.

  4. Uniformed employees changing clothes/time clock was hashed out decades ago in the hospitality industry. If this woman is correct, then the HR director and other key management at the Cosmo should be fired for being inept. You simply can't short employees that way and every hotel chain in this country knows it....except for the Cosmo somehow.

  5. Not sure how the Station Casinos suit worked out, but the issues are all the same. Anyone know which way that case went or if it was ever decided?

    The handbooks of many casino jobs usually state you are not paid for changing into your uniform. I can't see paying an employee for changing into a uniform, but I understand that I'm on property while doing it so I should be compensated for my time. This is no different than showing up for a team meeting.

    Rounding of minutes doesn't do either party any favors. If a clock can round time it can certainly provide the exact time.

    I say bring the fight to the casino. Getting fired for saying "bye bye" is an asinine move on Cosmos part.

  6. Ahhhh the morning scent of hating ones neighbors is on display here. Don't you guys like anyone but CEO's? Brown-noses the lot of you.

    It seems like this is the function of the court system to sort it out.

    I guess these employers could get the cameras mounted the police are testing and they could then dock the employees for potty breaks and for catching their breath too.

    For me, it is common sense, if you show up at starting time (Which is uniform changing time) you get paid for it, if uniform changing is NOT a job requirement, then they would just go to work in their own clothes. I guess they could then assign everyone shoe shining to be done before work in their assigned work shoes, along with having to iron their own uniforms...

    ...If you have a 30 minute lunch break and were at work 9 hours, as long as it was 30 minutes or less you get paid for 8 1/2 hours pay. With 30 minutes of overtime pay for that day.

    Next case please.

  7. What if a guy can change into his uniform in 5 mins and it takes a lady 30 mins? Is the fair thing to pay them for time spent? No! Pay should be when one is ready and able to work, the uniform changing area is a "perk" as in a clean uniform provided and ready for wear to be able to do the required job. this way any employee can send as much time as they like getting ready to go to work, when they are ready to work they are ready to get paid.

  8. Peter Fritz:

    Do you regularly ask yourself questions and then answer them yourself? Seems like a way to stay entrenched in one set of beliefs.

    Are you so unhappy in your own life that you want to extend your misery on others? Come on, you and me both know if there is willingness to get a solution over this weird situation a solution will be found.

    Classic overdramatazation by you lot of CEO butt kissers.

    Having to arrive at work early to be forced to do unpaid duties is a perk?