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Nevada Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek has ruled that casino executive Steve Wynn’s action in taking tips from casino workers and giving them to casino management is legal (“Wynning through intimidation,” RN&R, Oct. 12, 2006).

“Based upon substantial evidence in the record, the plain language of the statutes, and prior case law, the Wynn [Casino] may unilaterally establish and change a tip pooling agreement that is a term and condition of an underlying at-will employment agreement,” Tanchek said.

The ruling will likely be appealed in court, but unlikely to generate action by state legislators, who are noted for following the will of casino lobbyists. If Wynn ultimately succeeds, other casinos will probably follow his example.

Nevada Revised Statute 608.160 reads, “It is unlawful for any person to … Take all or part of any tips or gratuities bestowed upon his employees. … Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prevent such employees from entering into an agreement to divide such tips or gratuities among themselves.”

Tanchek’s decision can be read at http://wynnlawsuit.com/uploads/FINAL_7-12.pdf