Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 | 12:44 p.m.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today said Black Gaming LLC has agreed to pay $60,000 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit involving one of its Mesquite casinos.
The agency said it today sued Black Gaming in U.S. District Court for Nevada in Las Vegas and at the same time filed settlement papers with the court.
The settlement also resolves an EEOC claim in the bankruptcy case of Black Gaming, which is winding down as the company prepares to emerge from bankruptcy with new investors.
The EEOC lawsuit alleges that two sales managers at the CasaBlanca Resort & Casino, Martha Ray and Alvin Allison — 55 and 67 years old at the time, respectively — were informed that their positions were being eliminated in December 2007. The sales managers had been responsible for marketing hotel rooms for properties owned by Black Gaming.
Ray started with Black Gaming in 1999 as a receptionist and had performed her job duties in a satisfactory manner, the lawsuit said. Allison had started in 2004 as a sales manager and also performed satisfactorily, the suit said.
The EEOC says the workers were replaced by two younger new hires within about two months of Black Gaming eliminating the positions.
The older sales managers were discriminated against due to their age, a violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the EEOC said.
Besides paying $30,000 apiece to Ray and Allison, who have not been re-hired, Black Gaming agreed to:
• Designate an EEO compliance officer
• Develop procedures to address complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation
• Provide annual training for its supervisory and human resources staff on age discrimination
• Provide similar training for all new hires
• Hold supervisory and human resources staff accountable for compliance with equal employment policies via their performance evaluations
"Black Gaming and CasaBlanca worked with EEOC early on to resolve this matter and put measures in place to prevent further age bias," Anna Y. Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, said in a statement. "Notwithstanding, employers should be proactive in reviewing their own procedures and training staff accordingly so that older workers are not treated differently simply because of their age."
Lucy Orta, director of the EEOC’s Las Vegas office, said in a statement, "Older workers often have experience and qualifications which are too often overlooked in favor of younger employees who may not be as qualified. The law requires that employers assess employees equally and base their decisions on set criteria, irrespective of age."