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Circus Circus, Tropicana give workers notice of possible layoffs

Updated July 23, 2020 - 4:20 am

Circus Circus plans to permanently lay off 252 employees on Sept. 1.

The Strip property, purchased by Phil Ruffin for $825 million in December, had started furloughs, permanent layoffs and reduced hours for 2,074 employees on March 17, according to a letter dated June 30. These actions “have continued and will continue” through Sept. 1.

“Circus Circus Las Vegas has had to assess and make business decisions in order to effectively operate during these uncertain times,” said spokeswoman Shana Gerety. “We hope that business volumes will recuperate sufficiently so that most of our employees can get back to work in the near future.”

The notices comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which is meant to ensure employees have notice before significant layoffs so they have time to find work elsewhere.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, a 60-day notice is required if a company with at least 100 full-time employees plans to lay off at least 50 people at a single site. Employers who do not comply with the WARN Act are liable to pay each affected employee an amount equal to back pay and benefits for the violation period, which can last up to 60 days.

The letter says the company is reducing its staff because of the COVID-19 health crisis and unforeseen business circumstances.

“Whether or not this action triggers the requirements of the (WARN) Act, we thought it appropriate to give you this notice,” the letter reads. “We would like to have given more notice of this action, but were unable to do so because of how quickly and unexpectedly our operations were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The company expects to terminate 93 guest room attendant jobs, 79 dealer jobs, and 13 floor supervising positions, among others.

Update on Tropicana layoffs

A WARN Act letter from Penn National Gaming’s Tropicana has also been uploaded to the state’s Department of Education, Transportation and Rehabilitation website.

The letter, dated July 3, says 620 workers could be laid off within a 14-day period beginning Oct. 15. The property is set to reopen Sept. 1.

Penn National spokesman Jeff Morris said the company had a legal obligation to send a formal WARN notice, and “that does not necessarily mean that all those team members will be laid off.”

“A number of team members are expected to be called back (in September),” Morris continued, adding the company currently has 40 active team members.

The layoff notice is the result of sudden and dramatic COVID-19-related business circumstances, according to the company.

“We simply could not foresee, that the initial closures of our properties, that were issued by one or two states for a limited period of time, ultimately spread throughout all the states in which we operate and eventually be extended, interrupting almost all business and travel temporarily,” the letter said. “These significant drags on our business will likely continue for the foreseeable future.”

There would be no bumping rights — the ability to avoid layoffs by displacing another employee — for nonunion employees, and bumping rights for affected union-represented employees would be governed by the collective bargaining agreement.

Wyndham Vacation at Rio

Orlando, Florida-based Wyndham Vacation Ownership Inc. has also cut back on its Las Vegas workforce amid operation reductions.

In a letter dated July 10, the company said it “has no choice but to” permanently lay off four employees and furlough another four working at its location inside the Rio, “as a result of (its) significantly decreased operations.”

The Rio has yet to reopen, and operator Caesars Entertainment Inc. has yet to announce an opening date for the property.

A statement from the Wyndham said the operation inside the casino resort is a “small sales and markting venue.”

“It is necessary to suspend and reduce operations to protect the safety and well-being of our owners, guests, and associates,” the company said. “Large parts of the facility will close except for those associates required to maintain business continuity.

The layoffs and furloughs were expected to take place during a two-week period beginning June 24. The affected employees do not have any bumping rights.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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