Nine women who work at the Wynn Salon as manicurists and makeup artists have filed a lawsuit against the gaming company, alleging sexual harassment by former casino mogul Steve Wynn and retaliation after reports were published in early 2018 detailing misconduct accusations against him.
The 30-page complaint, which names Wynn Resorts as a defendant, was filed Monday in Clark County District Court. The plaintiffs — who are not named — previously had filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Nevada Equal Rights Commission.
In a statement, Wynn Resorts said the “claims appear to be those already thoroughly investigated by the special committee (set up by the company) and regulators; no new claims of this type have been received by the Company since the close of the investigations.”
The EEOC issued a “notice of right to sue” to each plaintiff in early July, meaning they had exhausted administrative actions before suing.
The suit alleges that on Jan. 17, 2018 — more than a week before the Wall Street Journal published its initial story outlining sexual harassment complaints against Steve Wynn — Maurice Wooden, then-president of Wynn Resorts, told salon employees not to speak with the media.
The executive’s directive “scared” the plaintiffs and gave them the impression that “Wynn Resorts might take some action against them if they spoke the truth about (Steve Wynn), either internally or to the media,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges that days after the story hit national media, the casino company convened a mandatory meeting for salon employees at the Wynn Country Club, where Steve Wynn spoke and put them on the spot.
“While his security and top executives lined the walls, Steve Wynn asked the 40+ Salon employees assembled to raise their hands if they ever felt assaulted or abused by him, pressuring the Salon employees to ‘out’ themselves and subject themselves to further humiliation and possible retaliation,” the complaint states.
The next day — Feb. 1, 2018 — Steve Wynn appeared inside the salon with a camera crew in tow for an 80-year-old employee’s birthday celebration, where some plaintiffs were told they needed to go on camera and say the billionaire had not assaulted or abused them, the lawsuit states. The complaint also alleges that during the birthday party, Steve Wynn “joked about sexually harassing that female employee, kissed her on the lips, initiated kisses and group hugs with other Salon employees, and made intimidating comments about the press.”
The complaint also states that some salon employees were required to do “surprise and forced interviews” with investigators hired by Wynn Resorts’ Board of Directors.
The women who filed the suit were hired between 2004 and 2008, and according to the lawsuit, experienced “acts of sexual harassment and personal degradation” by Steve Wynn at different points in time.
The complaint lays out the following five claims for relief:
- Discrimination based on sex and sexual harassment
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Invasion of privacy
- Negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention of high-level executives and human resources personnel
In the statement, the company said, “The actions and programs implemented by the Company to address these issues have been thoroughly vetted by regulators.” Those include new reporting processes, a zero tolerance policy and enhanced training.
The lawsuit also requests injunctive relief, which would require Wynn Resorts to “immediately correct all discriminatory and retaliatory practices,” and damages exceeding $50,000 for each plaintiff. The complaint asserts the women’s identities aren’t necessary because Wynn Resorts has copies of their EEOC charges of discrimination.
“Plaintiffs are being forced to file this public suit as a last resort, because their employer, Wynn Resorts has failed to fulfill its obligations under Title VII to remedy discrimination which has occurred, make victims whole and prevent future occurrences,” the lawsuit states. (A copy of the suit is provided below.)
It’s the second lawsuit filed against the gaming company in less than a week. On Thursday, a class-action lawsuit was brought by Wynn employee Brenna Schrader “on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated,” accusing Steve Wynn of forcing her to perform sex acts on him.
The class-action suit names Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn, Maurice Wooden and other unnamed corporations as defendants. (A copy of that lawsuit is also provided below.)
Steve Wynn resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of his self-named gaming company shortly after the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets published stories about alleged harassment. In February, roughly a year after he resigned, the Nevada Gaming Commission levied a record-setting $20 million fine against Wynn Resorts and settled a complaint that stemmed from the company’s failure to investigate sexual misconduct allegations against its former chairman and CEO.
The company released a separate statement Monday in response the class-action suit filed by Schrader:
“Wynn Resorts is deeply committed to a fair, supportive and open work environment. The Company takes prompt action and addresses each and every harassment complaint it receives.
“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.”
Note: This story was updated with a new Wynn Resorts statement at 7:14 PM.