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Best of Liz Benston

Gaming Guru

Liz Benston
 

LVCVA Settles Employee Lawsuits

10 September 2004

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has settled a pair of lawsuits filed by workers against the agency.

One of the suits, filed by 154 workers including groundskeepers, plumbers, security guards, custodians and painters, alleged that the LVCVA failed to grant federally mandated overtime pay from March 2000 to the present.

The suit, filed in October 2003 in federal court in Las Vegas, was subsequently amended to narrow down the number of workers seeking overtime pay to 56.

The LVCVA last month settled with 55 of those workers, LVCVA attorney Luke Pushnig said. The settlement included $300 in back pay as well as about 40 hours of time off for each worker, he said.

The attorney for the remaining worker without a settlement has filed a motion with the court to withdraw from representing his client in the case.

Separately, the LVCVA last month settled a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court in 2001 by former employee Judy Green. The exact amount of the settlement is confidential but Green will receive up to $25,000 -- the maximum amount that the LVCVA's president can authorize to spend per case to settle litigation.

In paying the settlement, the LVCVA doesn't admit to any wrongdoing.

Green, hired as a custodian in October 1996 and promoted to service worker in July 1998, claimed she was discriminated against because of her sex and race. Green claimed the discrimination is related to an injury on the job that required her employer to make accommodations such as changing her duties and work schedule.

Specifically, Green alleged that male co-workers at the LVCVA called her derogatory terms and made comments about her Hispanic heritage without reprisal. The suit alleged Green received lower evaluations than male workers although her job performance was similar and that she received less desirable assignments than her male counterparts. She also claims she was denied vacation time while male workers were granted "substantial time off."

Green filed the suit after exhausting administrative remedies in complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its state counterpart, the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, according to documents filed with the lawsuit. She could not be reached for comment.

In court filings, the LVCVA responded by saying Green's complaint made further allegations than were initially presented to the EEOC and should therefore be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The EEOC must first consider complaints brought by workers alleging sex or race discrimination, the LVCVA said.

While Green's original complaint before the EEOC was based on sex discrimination, her subsequent suit alleged that she was also subjected to discrimination based on her race and that the LVCVA failed to make reasonable accommodations because of a disability, the LVCVA said. The LVCVA also said Green for the first time said in the lawsuit that she was denied worker's compensation benefits after being injured on the job.