Casino dealers can share tips with higher-ranking employees under Nevada state law, according to the Nevada Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously.
In making its ruling, the Court reversed a previous lower court ruling. The lower court had found that Steve Wynn, a casino owner, was not in compliance with state law by requiring his dealers to share tips with their supervisors.
Back in 2010, Michael Tanchek, who was the labor commissioner, ruled that the policy was not a violation of state law. In 2011, Clark County District Court Judge Kenneth Cory had ruled that Tanchek was incorrect and it was, in fact, a violation.
Justice Michael Douglas wrote the decision, which will send the case to the district court for review of the commissioner’s decision on the tip-pooling policy in relation to two Nevada law provisions. These two provisions involve the state minimum wage and rebates. The question on whether the tip pooling can continue is settled.
Judge Cory had chosen to set aside Tanchek’s decision because he found it in violation of Nevada law in the way which it benefitted the Wynn Las Vegas directly. Douglas found this to be incorrect, as the Wynn Las Vegas did not actually keep the tips from the pool, but rather distributed the tips from it between its employees.
Under Nevada law, an employer cannot take and keep any of its employee’s tips. However, there is no law against splitting tips among employees. Because of this, Judge Cory erred in rejected the labor commissioner’s decision.
Judge Cory had not addressed the other issues previously raised by dealers at the Wynn Las Vegas as he had already found the tip sharing policy to be in violation of Nevada law. The Nevada Supreme Court has now ordered that these issues must also be addressed when the case is returned to the lower court.
Steve Wynn, who is the CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd, is happy with the Supreme Court ruling. In a statement issued, he said that his company respects state law and is careful in making any changes that affect the employees.
Back in 2008, anger amongst the dealers over the Wynn Las Vegas tip sharing policy had caused employees to vote for collective bargaining representation through a union. The Transport Workers Union of America had a approved a 10-year contract back in 2010, which included tip sharing and covers the dealers of the Wynn Las Vegas.
Tip sharing is a common practice among workers who share a job title, such as waitresses or even dealers. Although it is not common for supervisors to be a part of tip sharing, such as they are at the Wynn Las Vegas, it does happen.