Call it the Steve Wynn regulation if you will, but by March 1, 2020, all licensed casino operators in Nevada will be required to supply a policy regarding sexual harassment and discrimination. Regulators created this regulation in response to allegations levied against former Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn.
According to the new regulation, all licensed operators who have more than 15 employees are required to have created and implemented a policy that prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment.
The policy was approved after serious allegations of harassment were levied against Steve Wynn. The former CEO of Wynn Resorts was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior over decades; claims Wynn denied. However, he did pay millions of dollars in settlements to accusers. He was forced to resign from his position in February 2018 and sold off all of his holdings in the company.
The new regulation demands that operators “adopt and implement written policies and procedures prohibiting workplace discrimination or harassment of a person based on the person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or national origin, including, without limitation, sexual harassment.”
Many of the largest operators have complained that the regulation asks them to create guidelines that are already in place. These casinos have long had policies regarding sexual and other forms of harassment, and feel that it was completely unnecessary to create new guidelines when existing policies already ensured that employees had a remedy when they felt their rights were being violated.
However, the Gaming Control Board and the Gaming Commission pushed for the new regulations because of the serious allegations levied against Wynn. It was clear they wanted to leave no impression that incidences such as those alleged against the former CEO could happen again.
“It’s just a matter that those that have policies need to take a look and make sure they adhere to what this new regulation says, and if they’ve been in compliance with requirements for NERC and EEOC, they should be in pretty good shape,” explained Diane Welch, an attorney in the employment and labor law group with the Las Vegas office of McDonald Carano.
In addition, Welch explained that the new policy not only ensures that guidelines are in place, but that enforcement of those guidelines is clearly explained. “It’s got to have procedures as well for how you’re going to investigate how people report that sort of thing and, if they find some deficiency there or a gaming company doesn’t have the required policy and procedure, they’ve got the discretion, just like they do with other violations, to take action,“ he said. “They give an opportunity to cure that problem, and if they don’t, they might do some other disciplinary action on them under the reg.”
Those casinos found to be in violation of their policies could face fines as well as the suspension or revocation of their operator’s license.