casino_01.jpgThere’s sexual harassment and then there’s sexual harassment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday that it settled a sexual harassment case with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and the circumstances of the case are among the worst I have ever heard.

The suit brought by the EEOC charged that supervisors at the hotel demanded and or forced female Latina kitchen workers “to perform sex with them under threat of being fired.” These women, who mainly spoke only Spanish, “were forced to have sex in makeshift sex rooms” and that supervisors “performed other lewd acts on or in front of women, including unwanted sexual touching.”

Management was missing in action, according to the EEOC, because it failed to deal with the problem, even though the women involved brought it to the attention of upper management. Instead, these women were retaliated against by being demoted, having their wages cut, or having to deal with even more harassment.

The district director for the EEOC said: “Nevada employers need to be vigilant in protecting workers who have the courage to speak out against egregious discriminatory acts … The EEOC is determined to protect the civil rights of all workers and that includes protecting their right to protest illegal treatment.”

The settlement amount: $850,000. That is not a typo. A drop in the bucket for a major company such as Caesars. I’m sure they learned their lesson. NOT! It’s was a gamble and it looks like the house won.

(I’m waiting to hear if any criminal charges were brought against these managers.)

Update: On my question about criminal charges, here’s the regional attorney’s response:

“Managers were not arrested. The company did not report the allegations to the police and the women did not got to the police at the time it happened.”

I also asked if these women were working legally in this country. To that the attorney said: “The legal status is something we don’t ask because it is irrelevant to our ability to bring cases on their behalf.”

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