Nevada Regulators Plan New Sexual Harassment Rules
Nevada gaming regulators are developing a set of regulations and standards to help ensure gaming companies comply with federal and state rules prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace.
State Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris has notified the state’s nearly 3,000 gaming licensees of the process, which has been launched in response to a maelstrom of sexual misconduct allegations that have swept up Wynn Resorts and forced the resignation of founder, Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn, who’d been allowed for decades to prey on female employees without hindrance from management or the board of directors, according to testimony recounted in news and police reports and a growing number of lawsuits.
Wynn has denied the accusations, which are under investigation by the Control Board and regulators in Massachusetts and Macau.
Current and former female casino executives have described sexual harassment as “pervasive” within the industry and say casinos have tolerated a “a very misogynistic culture” for years. Women employed in service-level positions who make up the backbone of the resorts are often the most vulnerable, fearing, at the least, that they won’t be believed if they report or, at the most, that they will lose their jobs and be blacklisted.
“Sexual harassment continues to be one of the most frequent complaints raised in the workplace,” Harris said. “Sexual harassment includes, among other things, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual attention and gender harassment. An anti-sexual harassment policy is a key component to sexual harassment prevention.”
Along with the notice the board has provided licensees with a preliminary checklist for gauging the strength of their anti-sexual harassment policies and a sample sexual harassment claim form that could be made available to all company employees.
The list asks licensees whether their anti-sexual harassment policies contain specific elements, including an unequivocal statement that sexual harassment will not be tolerated; an assurance that employers will take immediate and proportionate corrective action if it determines a violation has occurred; and an annual review of internal sexual harassment policies to ensure effectiveness, among other things.
It also asks licensees to provide “any reported and substantiated sexual harassment claims” for any Nevada locations and report any charges, settlements or judgments on record with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Nevada Equal Rights Commission or any other relevant agencies over the last 12 months.
Under existing rules designed to protect public confidence and trust in the gaming industry, a Nevada operator can be fined or otherwise disciplined, including possible suspension or revocation of its license, for “willful or persistent use or toleration of methods of operation deemed unsuitable”.