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Arnold M. Knightly

M Resort facing labor complaint

7 April 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against M Resort, alleging unfair labor practices related to the firing of six security workers late last year.

The federal labor board said the resort illegally retaliated against the workers because they raised concerns about the security of employee files, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and safety issues. The resort opened March 1.

Bruce Allen, the first of the fired workers to file a charge with the board in January, said he found personnel files in a break room during one of his shifts. The files contained pictures of terminated employees and other confidential information.

Anthony Marnell III, chairman and chief executive officer of M Resort, said the workers were fired after being caught going through the confidential employee files.

"We take it very seriously," Marnell said Monday. "It's our duty to protect the confidential information of our team members and the confidential information provided by future applicants for the resort."

The complaint, issued March 31, asks for back pay for the terminated workers.

The resort has until April 14 to respond to the complaint. A hearing is scheduled for May 27.

Marnell said that no matter where the files were, the fired security workers did not have the authority to go through the documents.

"Whether they were left out or in a locked drawer," Marnell said. "It is not their right to be able to go through them. They can spin it however they want, but those are the facts. I am absolutely mystified that the NLRB would try to penalize the M for trying to protect the confidential information about employees and future applicants."

The discrimination and harassment complaints center on management's refusal to address complaints about a female co-worker who openly discussed her sex life, Allen said.

"Every day she came to work, for eight hours it was nothing but the most profane, vulgar description of her sexual habits with her husband and what she likes," Allen said. "We went to the director on three different occasions. All she told us is that we complained too much."

Marnell said he knew of the sexual misconduct and sexual harassment allegations, but the company's investigation continues.

"We believe these claims are absolutely frivolous," he said. "We're going to defend them to the very end."

Allen said some of the fired workers have asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate the discrimination and harassment charges.

The EEOC did not return a request for comment by press time.

The complaint against the M Resort is the fourth unfair labor practice complaint issued by the board in Nevada this year against employers.

The complaint also alleges two of the workers were fired for supporting and engaging in union activities. Allen said most of the fired security workers did not discuss unionizing, but it was made clear by management that union talk would not be allowed.