RENO — A lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in damages on behalf of thousands of employees at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno claims its parent company intentionally deprived workers of wages and overtime they were entitled to by repeatedly requiring them to complete assigned chores off the clock.
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks granted class action status last week to the lawsuit a Reno-based law firm filed last year on behalf of 2,000 to 4,800 employees who worked at Grand Sierra in Reno during the past two years.
The lawsuit estimates the workers were denied compensation. They were entitled to an average of one hour for every day they worked in violation of the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act and the Nevada Constitution, which the plaintiffs’ lawyers estimate could total as much as $50 million in lost wages.
“GSR willfully deprived employees of pay for time they spent engaging in work-related activities without compensation pre- and postshift, such as retrieving keys, radios, cash, completing paperwork, and attending mandatory training sessions and preshift meetings,” Reno lawyer Joshua Buck wrote in court documents.
“This was achieved by either rounding hours so that employees who were technically ‘on the clock’ did not receive pay for all their recorded hours worked or by having employees perform work without being logged in to the timekeeping system,” the lawsuit said.,
If workers either refused to do the work or subsequently filed for the overtime, they were “written up” with a disciplinary note, the lawsuit said. If they received too many citations, they would be terminated.
“Employees were told to simply clock out and then return to work to continue working off the clock,” the lawsuit said.
Co-counsel Leah L. Jones said they were in process of contacting 4,748 current and past employees to notify them of their opportunity to join the class action lawsuit, which names as defendants HG Staffing LLC and MEI-GSR Holdings LLC, doing business collectively as Grand Sierra Resort.
Mike Draper, a spokesman for the resort, said Friday the company doesn’t typically respond publicly to ongoing litigation but that he was trying to obtain comment from corporate officials.
In addition to not compensating employees for work they did, the lawsuit said workers were subjected to “shift jamming” by being forced to return to work sooner than 16 hours from when they last worked, “whether it be their normal job duties or a special event, or mandatory trainings or classes.”