Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady recently settled a $5.5 million lawsuit because it paid employees inaccurately for overtime hours worked.
Attorneys representing Kendra Brown, a waitress at Rivers from April 2017 to December 2019, filed a class action and collective action lawsuit alleging she was being shorted for the overtime hours she worked at the New York casino.
The defendants in the case were Rush Street Gaming and Capital Region Gaming, the owners and operators of Rivers Schenectady.
Brown wasn’t only one missing money from Rivers NY
Brown, along with other Rivers Schenectady employees, received lesser paystubs than they deserved, according to the suit. All the employees missing money on their checks stood as hourly tipped employees. The lawsuit claimed Rivers didn’t follow the Fair Labor Standards Act along with New York Labor Laws.
The lawsuit said Brown and her coworkers had their overtime pay miscalculated by Rivers. As a result, the casino paid less than what it actually owed.
Rush Street Gaming and Brown reached a settlement agreement in mid-September. Rush Street agreed to pay Brown and her coworkers $5.5 million along with litigation costs and attorney fees.
Other employees who received inadequate paychecks have 120 days to seek involvement in the case.
Hourly hospitality workers receive special payment
The state of New York considers casino employees as hospitality workers. Therefore, Rivers Schenectady is able to take a partial credit toward New York’s minimum for its hourly employees that also receive tips.
Simlarly, Rivers can apply those hourly tipped employee credits to overtime hours. For any overtime worked, an employer must pay 1.5-times the base hourly wage.
This is where Brown’s attorneys claim Rivers Schenectady dropped the ball.
“On (Brown’s) paycheck for the week of May 11, 2017, through May 18, 2017, Plaintiff worked 0.88 hours of overtime, and was paid for that time $11.3723 per hour. During that period, New York law provided that workers in her region were owed a minimum wage of $9.70 per hour and employers were permitted to assert a tip credit of no more than $1.60 per hour.”
As such, according to the suit, the casino should compensate Brown at least $12.95 per hour for overtime. That math equates to one-and-a-half times the minimum rate ($14.55) minus the tip credit ($1.60).
Attorneys say NY casino frequently erred on payments
Brown’s attorneys alleged the same issue with payment occurred throughout her time as a Rivers Schenectady employee.
Brown won’t be receiving the entirety of the $5.5 million lawsuit. The settlement allows any other employees shorted on paychecks to receive the payment owed to them.
The settlement states:
“Though Brown led the legal fight, she won’t be flushing her bank account with the settlement. The agreement limits her compensation to $7,500. Though that’s considerably more than she allegedly wasn’t paid through overtime work, the payment amount is for Brown’s ‘efforts to pursue the claims raised in this Litigation on behalf of the Settlement Class.’”