Federal Judge Dismisses Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Wynn Resorts

Posted on: July 17, 2020, 11:09h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2020, 10:01h.

A federal judge in Nevada threw out a lawsuit against Wynn Resorts Ltd. earlier this week. The suit was brought forward by nine women who claimed the company knew founder Steve Wynn sexually harassed them and did nothing to create a safe work environment.

Wynn lawsuit dismissed
Nine workers at salons in Wynn Resort’s Las Vegas casinos saw their federal case against their employer thrown out because they did not provide sufficient proof to file their case anonymously. (Image: Wynn Resorts)

US District Judge James C. Mahan dismissed the case, saying the plaintiffs who filed anonymously did not give sufficient cause as to why their names should not be made public.

Although plaintiffs wish to preserve their anonymity, this causes several deficiencies in their claims against the Wynn defendants,” Mahan wrote in the order he issued Wednesday. “Throughout their complaint, plaintiffs use generalized and vague statements without individualized factual support for their allegations.”

Mahan did dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning the women can refile the case. They may also be able to appeal the ruling.

In a footnote, Mahan said the plaintiffs needed to show they exhausted all administrative options by filing a complaint with either the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the equivalent state agency. The women did not include a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC in an attempt to maintain anonymity. But Mahan said that if the plaintiffs resubmit, then they must include it.

Plaintiffs Feared Retaliation

Originally, the women filed the case in a Clark County court in Nevada last September. A month later, though, the case moved to the federal courthouse because they claimed the company violated their federal civil rights through sex discrimination.

The women, who filed under the names Judy Doe Nos. 1-9, worked at salons in the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore resorts. They filed in that manner because they feared going public would lead to “further retaliation, humiliation, and scorn.”

The women said they feared losing their jobs when Steve Wynn harassed them for a period that stretched for up to 14 years and when media reports came out in 2018 detailing Wynn’s alleged behavior.

Those reports of Wynn sexually harassing staff eventually led to his departure from the company in early February 2018. A year later, the Nevada Gaming Control Board fined the company $20 million for its failure to check into the complaints. Officials in Massachusetts, where the company was, at the time, preparing to open a resort in Boston, levied a $35 million fine against the company and ordered it to implement policies that better address sexual discrimination.

Wynn Also in Court

Wynn was not a party in the lawsuit. A month after he stepped down from the company, he divested his remaining shares in it.

However, that hasn’t kept him out of the courtroom.

Earlier this month, lawyers for the former gaming mogul made their argument to the Nevada Supreme Court to revive a defamation lawsuit that a Clark County District Court judge dismissed two years ago. Wynn filed the suit against the Associated Press and one of its reporters, claiming the journalist did not include the complete picture of a woman’s wild claims against him, thus making it seem like the accuser had a credible case against him.

A judge in the case initially ruled the woman, Halina Kuta, defamed Wynn, and issued a $1 award to Wynn.