The second lawsuit in less than a week has been filed against Wynn Resorts Ltd. in connection with the handling of sexual harassment allegations against then CEO and Chairman Steve Wynn.
In the latest lawsuit filed Monday, nine women allege the company urged employees to stay away from media while Steve Wynn joked about the sexual harassment allegations.
“Wynn Resorts was not interested or serious about protecting its employees, and certainly not from Steve Wynn or his remaining allies in the executive ranks,” the lawsuit contends.
This comes after a separate class action lawsuit was filed Thursday against Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Steve Wynn, alleging that a hostile work environment continues for women who accused the former CEO and chairman of sexual harassment.
Living ‘in fear’
The lawsuit gives a glimpse at the internal actions allegedly taken by Wynn Resorts in the immediate aftermath of sexual harassment allegations that emerged against Wynn in January 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that Maurice Wooden, the former president of Wynn Resorts, and Troy Mitchum, former vice president of human resources, made it clear that “Wynn Resorts did not want them to tell the media the truth about Steve Wynn misconduct and the years of cover up” at a meeting in January 2018, even though the plaintiffs “knew they had been abused and mistreated by Steve Wynn in years past” and “lived in fear of being chosen (again) by Steve Wynn to be his sexual prey.”
The nine women, all current employees at the Wynn Salon or Encore Salon, said they believed they would face retaliation if they didn’t comply, the lawsuit states.
In late January, shortly after the accusations against Wynn first emerged, the lawsuit states the company hosted a mandatory meeting for salon staff at the Wynn Country Club, where Wynn asked the group of more than 40 employees to “raise their hands if they ever felt assaulted or abused by him.” The employees said they felt pressured to “out” themselves, and feared humiliation and retaliation.
Shortly after, according to the lawsuit, Wynn appeared in the salon with a camera crew to celebrate the birthday of an 80-year-old employee.
While there, he “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 lawsuit states.
Wynn stepped down as CEO and chairman of the company in February 2018 after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. He has previously denied those allegations.
The women said high-level Wynn Resorts executives and board members continue to visit the salon, where they ask employees about their experiences — something the plaintiffs “find unnerving.”
The plaintiffs claim “very little was done to protect” employees from possible retribution and said the company has not found a way to remedy “the harm these years of abuse, misconduct and corporate cover-up have inflicted on many Wynn Resorts employees … ruining many lives, livelihoods and reputations.”
Each plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and equitable relief.
A statement from Wynn Resorts said the claims in the lawsuit “appear to be those already thoroughly investigated by the special committee and regulators,” and the company hasn’t received new claims since the investigations closed. The company claims the company’s actions and programs to address these issues — including the launch of “enhanced Workplace Compliance and Prevention of Sexual Harassment training for all employees” — have been vetted by regulators.
“Wynn Resorts is deeply committed to a fair, supportive and open work environment,” according to the statement. “The Company takes prompt action and addresses each and every harassment complaint it receives.”
According to the lawsuit, Wynn Resorts was made aware of the identities of employees who filed claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — including the plaintiffs — by the commission itself.
The lawsuit states the EEOC may have entered into a secret agreement with Wynn Resorts that offered no compensation for past discrimination and retaliation, and “allowed Wynn Resorts to escape the usual disclosures required of employers” such as position statements, a list of salon employees and personnel files.
The EEOC sent the plaintiffs a notice of the right to sue on July 2, giving them 90 days to file.