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Cocktail server sues Wynn for disability discrimination

Updated June 13, 2024 - 11:29 am

A cocktail server at Wynn Las Vegas has filed a lawsuit against the hotel-casino claiming she was discriminated against on the basis of disability.

Jennifer Bandiero alleged Wynn violated Title I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Nevada law on disability discrimination in the lawsuit filed in December in the U.S. District Court of Nevada. Bandiero also alleged she faced retaliation for taking a medical leave of absence, was forced to take disciplinary attendance points for days she could not work, and was not allowed to park in the employee section of the parking garage.

Attorneys for Bandiero did not return calls seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Wynn Resorts denied Bandiero’s allegations in an emailed statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“Wynn complies with accommodation requests from employees in accordance with the law and has done so with Ms. Bandiero,” the resort said.

Bandiero started working for Wynn in 2008 and since that time was diagnosed with several chronic illnesses including systemic lupus erythematosus that affect her muscles and joints during flare-ups, according to the lawsuit.

Around the end of 2020, Bandiero alleged in the lawsuit, she was not allowed to take any breaks, including bathroom and lunch breaks.

“Ms. Bandiero was working at times for 10 hours straight without hydration or food of any sort, and without a bathroom break,” the complaint alleged.

The complaint also alleged Bandiero was forced to take on extra duties that belonged to food runners not cocktail servers. Stress from these events, Bandiero said, accelerated muscle and joint pain, affected her ability to do her job, and caused her to visit the emergency room regularly.

According to the lawsuit, Bandiero took a leave of absence from her position in June 2021. In 2022, Bandiero asked to extend her leave of absence twice, both with her doctor’s official recommendation and those extensions were granted.

In the lawsuit, Bandiero detailed filling out a form listing the accommodations she would need upon returning to work. Then, Wynn sent her an “Acknowledgement of Accommodation,” which said that Wynn had the power to review, change, and deny disability accommodations. Bandiero did not sign the document.

According to the lawsuit, Wynn granted her accommodations for a two-month period, then reversed their position and said that her paperwork was incomplete. But Bandiero said that a Wynn employee informed her to only fill out parts of the paperwork that were relevant to her, not the entire form.

The lawsuit said that Bandiero returned to work in April 2023 and asked whether her two-month accommodation period would begin on her start date in April instead of her previous starting date.

Bandiero said that she received no response from her supervisors. Bandiero alleged that she was then forced to take disciplinary attendance points on days she could not work because she had no clarification from Wynn on when her ADA accommodation period began on her start date in April or an earlier date.

Attorneys for both parties met on May 13, but a settlement in the lawsuit hasn’t been reached.

Contact Annie Vong at avong@reviewjournal.com.

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