The company and individual who operate Fort Pierce Jai-Alai and Poker are facing claims from three plaintiffs who say the defendants failed to pay poker dealers proper wages.
According to the lawsuit, when the individual defendant became the new owner of the gambling business in May 2014, dealers were switched from an hourly wage to a tip-credited rate that fell below the required minimum wage. The lawsuit argues that the defendants were not entitled to apply a tip credit to dealers’ wages because the workers spent more than 20 percent of each shift performing tasks that didn’t allow them to earn tips, such as collecting chip boxes, counting chips, and waiting for players. Furthermore, the case alleges that the defendants illegally deducted seven percent of dealers’ tips to be paid out to non-tipped employees – a practice that the case says further precluded the defendants from paying dealers a tip-credited wage.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the defendants discouraged customers from tipping dealers by requiring them to pay a $3 tip “to the house” instead of the dealers themselves at the end of a hand, as well as make payouts “at the cages instead of the table” and, on some occasions, requiring players to wait “several days” before receiving a payout.
Lastly, the case takes issue with the defendants’ alleged practice of disciplining employees who forgot to clock out by taking away two of their shifts each time, effectively discouraging the dealers from reporting that they didn’t clock out and requesting payment for their hours worked.