The lawsuit claims Las Vegas Sands employed the agents routinely in excess of 40 hours per week and frequently for more than 150 hours per week.
“The defendants knowingly and willfully failed to pay the lawfully compelled legal overtime rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay at which plaintiffs were employed” in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the suit charges.
Thanks to Matt for sending me this one. Cases like this emphasize the importance of why companies should do things right or take care of their people. Now of course this company will have some fantastic lawyers working this case. But they will still get the negative press on this, and if the plaintiffs win in this case, it will set precedence, and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. will have to pay damages.
With that said, let me throw my two cents in on this matter. Besides the violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, working guys into the ground like this would certainly degrade the security of the principal(s). In my experience, anything over a 12 hour shift that lasts for weeks or months, is dumb. If these guys were working longer than 12 hour shifts, and for an extended period, that is uncool.
Personally speaking, the optimum shift schedule would be three eight hour shifts if the client can afford it. (hell, four six hour shifts would be really cool if they paid a daily rate) Weekends off are excellent as well, or even just one day off a week. Your protection force needs time to cut away from being in sheepdog mode in order to recharge, and I am a big fan of very sensible and rest conducive shift schedules.
At the most, 12 hour shifts would suffice, if cost is a factor or if it is a short term gig. Anything more, and the client is being cheap and they really do not care about the quality of their security and the welfare of their protection team. I am not alone in this thinking either, and if you go to Tactical Forums, they have an excellent thread about this topic.
Now of course there are the other issues in this case. If the company is not paying a daily rate, and paying an hourly rate, then of course they should follow state laws in regards to overtime rules. That is why I hope these guys win this one, so it can build on ‘precedence’ for this industry. Other legal cases that are similar, can draw on this one. Perhaps even OCONUS cases can build off of this one? You never know..
There is another point I want to bring up about overseas contracting, on land and sea. Because this work seems to be out of the reach of any labor laws, companies seem to try and get away with all sorts of horrible labor and pay practices. With that said, if cases like this become successful, contractors can use mimicry strategy and contact the same lawyers that were successful. Litigation is one way of getting the companies to do things right, and it is only when companies pay a price for bad behavior will they then get the picture that doing things right is actually ‘cost effective’.
The downside with litigation like this is cost and time. It is also a threat to your career, and this is why guys really don’t pursue this stuff to it’s fullest degree. The odds of success are kind of low as well, just because companies have the resources and contractors do not. The companies know this reality, and the contractors do as well. So that is why companies really don’t get too upset about this stuff. They will drag their feet and try to make litigation as costly for the contractor as possible and the companies definitely have the advantage here. But as more class action law suits come up, where contractors get organized and pool their resources, then the scale gets balanced somewhat. It is still a fight, and most contractors choose to ‘let it go’.
Now I am not a big fan of unions, because I mostly see them as negative to the business. They are like using a hammer for surgery, and unions not only bash the poor companies, but also end up ruining the good companies as well. Nor do I want to be required to join a union and pay dues, just to work in this industry. I like being an independent contractor and not answering to groups like this.
But I also understand why unions form, and if the abuses within an industry are too great, then labor movements happen. I am a fan of preventing that from happening by promoting how to do things right in the first place. Because if companies do not do things right, then unions do happen, and these groups will certainly cut into your profit margin. Pay now, or pay later as they say….
Either way, it will be interesting to see how this goes. If anyone has anything further to add to this story, please feel free to do so in the comments. -Matt
Security officers, driver for LV Sands CEO file lawsuits alleging violations of overtime law
By Steve Green ?11 June 2011
Nine executive security officers and a driver for Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson filed lawsuits Friday claiming violations of overtime law and other laws.
The suits were filed in federal court in Las Vegas by the Las Vegas law firm Campbell & Williams — the same firm representing fired Sands Macau executive Steven Jacobs in his lawsuit against Las Vegas Sands and Sands China Ltd.
One lawsuit was filed against Las Vegas Sands on behalf of Vincent Burlingame, Richard Carty, James Jackson, Christopher LaCascia, James Martin, Jonathan Molnar, Benjamin Ness, DeJuan Robinson and Michael Statkiewicz.
The suit described these plaintiffs as “executive protection agents” who provide or provided security services to Adelson, his wife and children on a 24-hour basis, including frequent air travel in the United States and around the world.