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Penn National Gaming, Hilton Grand Vacations warn of possible layoffs

Updated July 23, 2020 - 11:21 am

Penn National Gaming and Hilton Grand Vacations have warned the state of potential layoffs and long-term furloughs.

Penn National, which operates the Tropicana and M Resort, said up to 241 layoffs could be on the horizon at corporate offices in Las Vegas and Pennsylvania.

A similar notice was sent by the Tropicana this month, saying up to 620 workers could be laid off beginning Oct.15.

On Wednesday, Penn National spokesman Jeff Morris told the Review-Journal the company had a legal obligation to send the formal notice to Tropicana workers, and “that does not necessarily mean that all those team members will be laid off.” He said the same holds true for the notice regarding corporate positions.

The letters 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.

Penn National’s most recent WARN Act letter said eight corporate employees could be laid off beginning Sept. 20, in addition to 233 workers at the Pennsylvania and Las Vegas offices who were already notified about potential layoffs beginning on a two-week period beginning Aug. 15.

Bumping rights — the ability to avoid layoffs by displacing another employee — for union members would be governed by a collective bargaining agreement, and there would be no bumping rights for nonunion employees.

“These layoffs at Penn National Gaming are the unfortunate result of COVID-19 related business circumstances that were sudden, dramatic and beyond our control,” the letter said. “We could not have anticipated when our properties would be allowed to reopen and how restrictive the new operating conditions would be, and the negative impact this would have on business volumes.”

On July 3, Orlando, Florida-based Hilton issued a notice to employees at at four Las Vegas properties — Hilton Grand Vacations Elara, Hilton Grand Vacations Flamingo, Hilton Grand Vacations Las Vegas Boulevard and Hilton Grand Vacations Paradise — warning furloughs for up to 994 employees could last longer than 6 months.

Employees were initially furloughed March 27 and April 3, depending on their location of work.

The company plans to fully reopen its properties “when the climate allows” but said it’s not sure when that will be.

“While we continue to hope these furloughs will be temporary, in light of the current and unexpected circumstances, we are now unsure when we will be able to return the affected employees to work on a consistent basis,” the letters said. “The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Nevada makes it clear now that there will be additional challenges posed to the travel and hospitality industries in Nevada.”

Employees do not have bumping rights. A spokeswoman for Hilton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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