LINCOLN, RI (WPRI) – Dozens of employees at Bally’s Twin River Casino are suing the parent company for unlawfully calculating overtime pay.
About 80 tipped workers, including waiters, bartenders and vendors, allege that Bally violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) by undercounting their hours and not paying them the statutory overtime rate.
The class-action lawsuit, filed last month, says Twin River failed to include tips in calculating employees’ regular pay rates.
Instead, Twin River paid employees an overtime rate that was one-and-a-half times the regular wage rate, below the state minimum wage.
“Twin River’s violations were intentional, repeated and intentional,” the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, Twin River relies on a time clock system that rounds the time employees clock in to the nearest 15 minutes.
But attorney Chip Muller, representing Twin River employees, said workers can’t clock in more than seven minutes before the start of their shift.
“That means they would never be able to… round down in favor of the employee,” Muller explained. “In other words, rounding has always been in favor of the house.”
Muller said it is currently unclear whether Twin River knowingly violated the FSLA.
“There are two options, right? [The first] is that they did not know the law and unknowingly broke the law. The other is that they knew exactly what they were doing and still chose to break the law,” Muller said. “Anyway, for our purposes it doesn’t matter because the law requires employers to comply whether they want to or not.”
The employees are demanding three years’ worth of wages, which they claim were unpaid. Under the FSLA, employees are also seeking double the amount of lost wages plus interest and any legal fees incurred throughout the process.
12 News has reached out to Twin River regarding the lawsuit, but a spokesman said they are not commenting on legal matters.
Muller said if the court rules in her favor, it would affect not only the employees involved in the lawsuit, but other tipped employees who may have been unknowingly affected.