Wynn Las Vegas Disability Lawsuit Could Hinge on Early Neutral Evaluation Conclusion

Posted on: June 14, 2024, 08:57h. 

Last updated on: June 14, 2024, 09:03h.

Wynn Las Vegas, LLC, the operating entity of the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip was named in a disability discrimination lawsuit by a cocktail server filed in December.

Wynn Las Vegas lawsuit disability
A casino cocktail server at Wynn Las Vegas delivers a drink. Wynn Las Vegas is facing a lawsuit from a former waitress who alleges she faced discrimination by her employer for her medical disabilities. (Image: Casino.org)

Jennifer Bandiero alleges in a lawsuit filed in Nevada’s US District Court that Wynn failed to accommodate her disabilities and claims she was retaliated against for taking medical leaves of absence.

Her attorneys say Bandiero worked for Wynn since 2008 despite suffering from lupus, a chronic disease where the body’s autoimmune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. The disease is considered common with more than 200K cases in the US each year.

Lupus patients regularly suffer from joint and muscle pain, swelling, fatigue, mouth sores, and skin rashes. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in women aged 15 to 44, and is most prevalent in Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics. Women are 10 times more prone to lupus than men.

Bandiero says she’s also been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, which causes dry eyes and dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis, which causes painful swelling of the joints, back, and muscles.

Complaint Backstory

Bandiero says she worked part-time at the Wynn casino until she sought a full-time position in November 2018. Though she “had the most seniority to win the shift bid,” Wynn allegedly passed over her and told Bandiero they were doing her a “favor” by not promoting her to full-time because of her medical conditions.

Bandiero and her attorneys filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC).

She says at the end of 2020, her supervisors stopped allowing her to take breaks. Her complaint alleges she worked “at times for 10 hours straight” without any sort of break.

Wynn Las Vegas also started forcing Ms. Bandiero to take on additional strenuous duties that go beyond the role of a cocktail server, including food running duties,” the lawsuit read. “Shortly after Wynn Las Vegas took these actions, Ms. Bandiero’s stress levels rose dramatically, and her physical impairments (which become amplified by stress) substantially limited one or more of Ms. Bandiero’s major life activities, including but not limited to the ability to concentrate, think, communicate, interact with others at work, stand and walk for prolonged periods of time, and carry heavy objects.”

Wynn granted Bandiero a medical leave of absence in June 2021 and in December of that year reached a Negotiated Settlement Agreement through the NERC. The settlement agrees to allow her to remain on medical leave until her doctor releases her to work, with or without accommodations.

Judge to Make Recommendation

Bandiero claims Wynn Las Vegas’ ADA Department on March 9, 2022, emailed her saying her employment would terminate at the end of the month unless she returned to work with a doctor’s release. Bandiero’s doctor asked for the leave to be extended through Sept. 14, 2022, which was approved.

The medical leave was further extended into 2023, but on March 1, 2023, a Wynn attorney emailed her saying there would “be no further extensions of your leave of absence.” Bandiero claims she’s since been trying to reach an accommodations agreement that would allow her to return to a five-day work schedule but Wynn has been unaccommodating to the requests.

“The incessant pressure from Wynn Las Vegas for Ms. Bandiero to constantly turn in new medical paperwork, along with the demands that she reveals her medical condition in explicit detail and give the company an exact answer on when she will not need accommodations anymore (treating her accommodations like a burden) has had an overwhelmingly stressful impact on Ms. Bandiero,” the complaint alleged.

Wynn has denied any wrongdoing and said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the company “complies with accommodation requests from employees in accordance with the law and has done so with Ms. Bandiero.”

According to the most recent case filing, US Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts in March agreed to conduct an Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) on the allegations. An ENE provides a balanced and unbiased evaluation of a dispute that can assist in a settlement being reached by the parties.

Albregts completed his evaluation last month but his findings have not yet been made available on the case’s public docket.