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Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Facing Wage & Overtime Lawsuit;
Former Employee Seeking Class Action Status

By Steve Green, Las Vegas SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 14, 2012--A fired worker is suing the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, claiming she and other employees weren't paid for all hours worked and were shorted on overtime.

A suit seeking class-action status to represent hourly workers at the property was filed in Clark County District Court on Friday by Melodee Megia. The potential class of plaintiffs would consist of more than 3,000 of the property's 4,300 employees, the suit says.

Megia is represented by Reno attorney Mark Thierman, who specializes in wage lawsuits against companies.

The suit asserts claims litigated in recent years against other companies, including casinos.

They include allegations that:

--The hotel required uniformed employees to change into their uniforms at a common locker room but didn't pay them for the changing time, time spent waiting for their uniforms and time walking from the locker area to their work stations.

--The property's timekeeping system always rounded work hours in favor of the Cosmopolitan and, because it is based on 15-minute increments, employees could lose an hour of pay a day given that they punch in and out four times a day, including for meal breaks.

--The workers were shorted on overtime pay because of the uniform-changing and time-rounding policies.

--Workers were also shorted on overtime pay because of a system in which hotel guests who ordered room service were charged for a service charge, or mandatory gratuity. Part of this tip was paid to hotel workers. But, the suit alleges, the hotel failed to include such "bonuses/commissions" in the regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime pay.

Cosmopolitan attorneys have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

The company policy is to not comment on pending litigation, a Cosmopolitan spokeswoman said Monday.

Last week, the company disclosed it had received notice of the suit before it was filed.

"The company received a notice of intent to file a class action lawsuit related to unpaid compensation for time incurred by employees while on property for donning and doffing of the employees' required uniform and alleged improper rounding of time for hours worked. The company is in the process of evaluating the notice of intent and cannot at this time determine the potential impact of the notice of intent to sue on the condensed consolidated financial position, cash flows, or the results of operations of the company," the Cosmopolitan said in Wednesday's quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The suit demands employees be paid the alleged wages and overtime due them, which are unspecified, and that the property pay their attorney fees.

Besides her class-action wage claims, Megia claims in the suit she was subjected to pregnancy discrimination and was wrongfully fired in September because of her pregnancy.

"The stated reason for plaintiff's termination was that she said 'bye bye' instead of 'good bye' on the telephone to a room service customer," the suit says. "This was merely a pretext as plaintiff had been subject to harassing conduct."

The suit claims Megia actually was fired because of her pregnancy, which had advanced to eight months, "and the medical costs and other inherent costs."

Megia claims in the suit a supervisor regularly criticized her for getting pregnant. In one alleged instance, the suit says Megia was told to deliver a "pleasure packet" of condoms to a hotel customer and the supervisor said: "Isn't it too late for that? You should have thought about it before getting knocked up."


(c)2012 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)

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