The timing of several new lawsuits alleging misconduct against female staff by Steve Wynn – from a period when he was chairman and chief executive of casino group Wynn Resorts Ltd – is linked to the protocols of a United States government agency, GGRAsia understands.
Wynn Resorts controls Macau casino licensee Wynn Macau Ltd. The Wynn parent firm is also a suitor for a casino licence in Japan.
On September 26, a class-action lawsuit for harassment was brought by Wynn Resorts employee Brenna Schrader “on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated,” accusing Mr Wynn of forcing her to perform sex acts on him.
On September 30 was filed another action – also in the U.S. District Court in Clark County, Nevada – involving nine different women – each referred to in court papers as a “Judy Doe” – an allusion to “Jane Doe”, an American term for an anonymous or unknown female victim of alleged crime. The collective lawsuit alleges “discrimination, retaliation and related torts [civil-law wrongs].”
The women in the latter case – all current employees either of Wynn Salon or the next-door Encore Salon at the company’s flagship complex on the Las Vegas Strip – allege, according to court documents placed online – that Mr Wynn used the Wynn Resorts workplace as his “personal hunting ground, finding and subjecting female employees to sexual advances, sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and pressuring female Wynn Resorts staff to perform sex acts on him”.
The nine women had previously lodged claims of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Nevada Equal Rights Commission.
The federal commission gives a 90-day window to sue, once it issues a notice acknowledging a complaint, according to its website.
Wynn Resorts said in a statement emailed to GGRAsia that it was “deeply committed to a fair, supportive and open work environment”.
It added regarding the lawsuit filed by Ms Schrader – referring to previous actions by a company committee, and by the authorities in the U.S. states of Nevada and of Massachusetts, where the group has U.S. businesses: “Since the completion of the investigation by the special committee and regulators, the company has received no complaints of the nature described in the lawsuit other than the allegation in this lawsuit which was promptly investigated. The company immediately followed all appropriate procedures to address the matter.”
Regarding the complaint filed on behalf of unnamed plaintiffs, Wynn Resorts said: “The claims appear to be those already thoroughly investigated by the special committee and regulators; no new claims of this type have been received by the company since the close of the investigations. The actions and programmes implemented by the company to address these issues have been thoroughly vetted by regulators…”
Mr Wynn resigned from his roles at Wynn Resorts in February 2018. He has denied any wrongdoing.
In February 2019 the Nevada Gaming Commission imposed a US$20-million penalty on Wynn Resorts for 10 violations of the state’s Gaming Control Act and the commission’s rules, concerning failure to take appropriate action regarding allegations of sexual misconduct made against the firm’s founder Mr Wynn and at least one other unnamed executive.
The commission complaint said Mr Wynn had reached in 2005 a “private, confidential settlement” with a person referred to as “Employee 1”, in which “she and her husband were paid US$7.5 million through a separate legal entity funded personally by Mr Wynn”.
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