MGM SPRINGFIELD, a resort casino in Springfield, agreed to a $6.8 million settlement for violating wage and hour laws that impacted over 2,000 of its employees.
This settlement comes as a result of a multi-year investigation conducted by the attorney general’s office which found that MGM management had failed to pay their employees in a timely manner, failed to pay overtime wages, failed to pay minimum wage to their tipped employees, and retained tips unlawfully.
“MGM Springfield’s failure to provide its employees, especially service workers earning an hourly wage and relying on tips, with their full wages and benefits made it more difficult for these employees to take care of themselves and their families,” said Attorney General Andrea Campbell in a statement. “My office will continue to hold accountable those who violate our wage and hour laws.”
Of the $6.8 million settlement, $461,587 will go to the MGM employees as full restitution and nearly $6.4 million will go to the state as a penalty payment.
MGM Springfield is operated by MGM Resorts International, which owns destination resorts in many different parts of the country, including Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The Springfield location opened in August 2018 and, by October, the fair labor division of the attorney general’s office was receiving a variety of complaints.
“We take our compliance obligations seriously and have made proactive updates since 2019 to address this issue. We will continue to invest in training and regular reviews of our policies and procedures to ensure ongoing compliance,” said Dara Cohen, the communications director at MGM Resorts International in an email statement.
According to Campbell’s office, there were complaints that managers were illegally participating in tip pooling. Tip pooling is where all tips made by a service worker go into a combined pool of money that is split equally among workers that receive tips. It’s meant to balance out bad days for tips with good days. While tip pooling is not illegal in Massachusetts, it is illegal for owners, managers, or supervisors to participate in a pool.
Other complaints cited by the attorney general’s office include MGM underpaying service-rate employees for overtime hours. Massachusetts requires that employees be paid one and a half times their regular hourly rate for all hours they work in addition to 40 hours in a work week.
The state also requires that employees be given meal breaks or that employers compensate employees for working through their meal breaks. Allegedly, MGM management illegally required security guards to work through meal breaks without compensation
Of the 2,036 workers who were affected by MGM’s wage and hour violations, most were service employees who earned hourly wages, including table game dealers, banquet servers, bartenders, ushers, kitchen staff, casino floor and hotel staff, warehouse personnel, cleaners, and security guards.
As part of the settlement, MGM will also be required to implement a two-year compliance program to ensure that the hotel adheres to wage and hour laws in the future. MGM must retain an independent compliance reviewer approved by the AG’s Office and they must regularly train their relevant staff on wage and hour compliance. A third party will also be required to conduct two annual wage and hour audits and submit them to the attorney general’s office.