Supervisors Forced Sex on Hispanic Female Workers, EEOC Charged
LAS VEGAS – Caesars Palace will pay $850,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the Las Vegas resort/casino’s Latina kitchen workers were subjected to repeated and sometimes severe sexual harassment.
In its 2005 lawsuit against Desert Palace, Inc., doing business as Caesars Palace, the EEOC asserted that male supervisors would demand and/or force female workers to perform sex with them under threat of being fired. Women, predominantly monolingual Spanish speakers, were forced to have sex in makeshift sex rooms. In addition, EEOC claimed that supervisors performed other lewd acts on or in front of women, including unwanted sexual touching.
The EEOC also charged that management failed to address and correct the unlawful conduct, even though women complained about it. Further, the EEOC said, when workers complained about the unlawful conduct, they were retaliated against in the form of demotions, loss of wages, further harassment, discipline or discharge.
Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“In a case like this where many of the workers were monolingual Spanish speakers, victims of sexual harassment often feel further isolated, marginalized and unable to vindicate their rights,” said Anna Park, Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District. “This case also illustrates that employers need to ensure their policies and procedures provide adequate avenues for complaint and redress to non-English speakers.”
Under the three-year consent decree resolving the case, Caesars Palace agreed to pay $850,000 to the employees identified by the EEOC to have been sexually harassed or retaliated against. As part of the injunctive relief, Caesars Palace further agreed: (1) to provide training to all employees in English or Spanish; (2) to provide semi-annual reports to the EEOC regarding its employment practices for a period of three years; and (3) to revise its employment policies and procedures to conform to its obligations under Title VII. The EEOC filed the suit and consent decree in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (EEOC v. Caesars Entertainment, Inc., et al., 2:05-CV-0427-LRH-PAL).
Olophius Perry, District Director for the Los Angeles District Office, said, “Nevada employers need to be vigilant in protecting workers who have the courage to speak out against egregious discriminatory acts such as those alleged in this suit. The EEOC is determined to protect the civil rights of all workers, and that includes protecting their right to protest illegal mistreatment.”
Caesars Palace is owned and operated by Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment, which has more than 80,000 employees.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.