Marty Derbyshire morongo time-shaving

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa have settled a class action lawsuit claiming the organization shaved time off its casino employees’ documented hours.

US District Judge André Birotte Jr. issued an order dismissing the case last week after being informed of the settlement. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Furthermore, Morongo representatives refused to comment.

Morongo accused of time-shaving

Casino security employee Charles Denton filed the case in California federal court this past in June. He alleged that even when he clocked in early for work, the casino paid only for scheduled hours. The original complaint also alleged the casino’s time clock was routinely manipulated — manually adjusted by managers to round down hours and deduct time from employees’ records.

Because of what the complaint called “time-shaving practices,” employees didn’t receive the correct straight time or overtime compensation.

Such practices would be considered a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. The complaint went on to claim any hours shaved from an employee’s record represent a violation of minimum wage requirements.

Plus, in weeks where an employee worked more than 40 hours, the time-shaving would represent a violation of overtime laws.

Ultimately, the complaint alleged Morongo willfully failed to pay overtime and keep accurate time records in order to save payroll costs. It also alleged Morongo enjoyed millions of dollars in ill-gained profits at the expense of its employees through time-shaving practices.

The suit became a class action when Denton sought to represent anyone who has worked at Morongo in the past three years.

He sought damages for the amount of unpaid overtime due and prejudgment interest.

One of the largest tribal casinos in the country

Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon is one of the largest casinos in California. It’s also one of the biggest tribal casinos in the country.

For some background, the $250 million casino and resort opened in December 2004. The hotel on the property features 310 rooms. Its casino is close to 150,000 square feet. It features as many as 2,000 slots, more than 100 table games, and a 22-table poker room.

Morongo and the fight for California online poker

Morongo has been at the forefront of efforts to bring legal and regulated online poker to California since signing an agreement with online poker giant PokerStars to fight for regulation in 2014.

The three largest card rooms in the state, including Commerce Club, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, and Bicycle Casino, also joined the coalition. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, owners of the San Manuel Casino, also joined the group, but pulled out earlier this year.

The group stood in the way of a poker bill in 2016. It appeared at that moment that state lawmakers were looking to place a lifetime ban on PokerStars. This year saw very little movement or discussion on the issue. The suitability of operators like PokerStars, which had previously accepted US customers, also failed to appear on the agendas of state lawmakers in 2017.

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including USPoker.com, PlayCA.com, and PlayNJ.com.