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LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Wynn Las Vegas' president said Friday that the dealers who filed a lawsuit seeking to end the casino's 3-week-old tip pooling program are welcome at their jobs.
Andrew Pascal said Friday the Strip resort had not been formally served with the lawsuit, in which Wynn Las Vegas dealers Daniel Baldonado and Joseph Cesarz say the casino's policy, which calls for tokes earned by dealers to be split with casino supervisors, violates Nevada state law covering tip pooling.
The dealers are seeking class action status for the lawsuit, filed in Clark County District Court, on behalf of more than 500 dealers affected by the new program. Pascal said he had read the lawsuit.
Pascal confirmed the two dealers are employed at the casino and said the property wouldn't take any action against them.
"Of course not," Pascal said. "As long as they come to work and do their jobs, that's all that matters."
As for the lawsuit, Pascal said he was confident Wynn Las Vegas would prevail if the case goes to trial.
"We knew (the lawsuit) was a potential course of action, but we feel comfortable with our position," Pascal said. "We know it's legal and there is no basis to file the lawsuit."
Three different law firms -- two from Las Vegas -- filed the lawsuit. Media inquires were referred to Mark Thierman, a Reno attorney, who was unavailable Friday.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board said regulators are monitoring the events at Wynn, but would only get involved if it was ruled the casino violated state law.
Dennis Neilander said regulations covering employees' wages fall under the purview of the state's labor commissioner, not the Gaming Control Board.
However, if a casino violates state law regarding employee pay or goes against general labor law, gaming authorities can act, Neilander said.
"We've been following and monitoring what's happening at Wynn, but that's all we can do at this point," Neilander said. "This seems to be a business decision by the company, not a regulatory matter. The labor commissioner has ruled that there had not been a violation of state and local law, but we'll continue to monitor the situation."
Wynn Las Vegas on Sept. 1 began allowing table game supervisors to share in the tips earned by dealers. Wynn executives said the move was done to correct the widening disparity between the wages earned by dealers and casino floor supervisors.
The program was part of a table-games division restructuring announced Aug. 21 in a meeting with dealers and supervisors.
Wynn Las Vegas executives have said the casino's dealers were earning about $100,000 annually in salary and tips. The new tip-pooling policy would mean an average pay reduction of about 20 percent.
Table-game supervisors were given a boost in salary and were allowed a percentage of the tips to bring their compensation up to what dealers were earning. The casino also instituted a bonus program for dealers.
According to the lawsuit, the two dealers are seeking the wages they lost because of the tip pooling, and they want the program stopped.
"(Wynn Las Vegas) breached ... contracts of employment by unilaterally, illegally, and without cause, withholding certain portions of the ... casino dealers' tip pool and paying such portions to other persons who were not casino dealers and were not entitled to such payments," the lawsuit said.
The dealers' lawsuit was filed Sept. 13, the same day Nevada Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek rejected the complaints of more than 100 dealers about the tip-pooling program. Tanchek said he didn't believe the casino was violating state law.
Tanchek said the state's Department of Business and Industry will continue to look at Wynn Las Vegas' new policy and investigate any new complaints.
Pascal said the labor commissioner's ruling validated the Wynn Las Vegas program.
"We weren't impulsive about implementing this," Pascal said. "We thought it through and looked all the alternatives. We believe in it, it's lawful and we will continue ahead with the program. We're already seeing the benefits."
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