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Overtime – A Big Problem for Las Vegas Employers, Employees, & Agents

24/7, 365 days a year, is a big reason Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. At any hour of the day, Las Vegas visitors can gamble, see a show, be entertained, or just grab a bite to eat. And to ensure these activities operate smoothly, Las Vegas employs one of the largest entertainment work forces, which as seen in several recent lawsuits, can be an overtime challenge for many Las Vegas employers. In Kwame Luangisa vs. Interface Operations LLC et al, and Olsen v. Wynn Las Vegas LLC, the plaintiffs allege they were denied overtime wages and that such denial is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Nevada’s Revenue Statue NRS 608.018.

Under the FLSA an employee is someone who is “engaged in interstate commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, or who is employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce”, unless the employer can claim an exemption from coverage.” An employer is defined as “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to the employee.” Though the FLSA exempts executive, administrative, or professional employees, as well as drivers from the definition of employee, whether a worker falls into these categories, or any other exempt employee category, or a business is an employer, is often a disputed question in labor lawsuits.

For example, In the Luangisa case, Kwame Luangisa worked as the personal driver for Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of the Venetia Resort Hotel Casino, Palazzo Las Vegas, and Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas. From 2007, when he was hired, until 2011, Luangisa alleges he was responsible for driving Mr. Adelson, primarily in Las Vegas and Malibu, CA, for 12 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Luangisa claims he is entitled to but never received overtime pay. Adelson and Interface Operations LLC, which owns the Vegas properties, allege as a salaried employee, Luangisa is not entitled to overtime.

In the Olsen case, Richard Olsen worked as an investigator and executive protection agent for Wynn Resorts Ltd. Though he worked many hours in excess of the standard eight, Olsen was not compensated for any overtime wages. Like Interface Operations, Wynn Resorts claims as a salaried employee, Olsen is not entitled to any overtime pay.

Under the FLSA, an employer is generally responsible for overtime pay of “1.5 times an employee’s regular wage rate … whenever an employee works more than 40 hours in any scheduled week of work or more than 8 hours in any workday.” Employees who are paid a flat salary as opposed to an hourly wage are covered by the FLSA rules and requirements, and their overtime wage is calculated by dividing their compensation by the number of hours required to work for that compensation. The FLSA does not require that the number of hours required to work be 40. It can be less or more.

The commentary is for educational and commentary purposes only. If you or someone you know has been injured or feel there are illegal practices occurring at your work, and would like to be represented by a Nevada attorney, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.