On November 3, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear an appeal brought by a Harrah’s Las Vegas casino dealer challenging the District Court’s ruling that her proposed state wage-and-hour class action was preempted by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In so doing, the Ninth Circuit chose not to revisit the District Court’s ruling that the plaintiff could not assert parallel federal and state wage-and-hour class actions. This ruling provides welcome relief to employers threatened by such a multiplicity of claims.
In Daprizio v. Harrah’s Las Vegas Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84307 (D. Nev. Aug. 17, 2010), the District Court held that the FLSA, which requires putative class members to affirmatively opt-in to a collective action lawsuit, preempts California state law, under which class members are automatically included in a certified class unless they affirmatively opt-out. The Court found these two schemes to be inconsistent and contrary to Congress’s intent that collective actions under the FLSA have an opt-in procedure. In this case, the plaintiff argued that by requiring casino dealers to attend mandatory, work-related meetings before each shift without being compensated, the employer breached both its state and federal legal obligations to her and her fellow dealers. As a result of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, only the federal FLSA claim will be allowed to go forward.