Las Vegas Strip hospitality workers filed a lawsuit against casino operators on Monday, accusing the companies of failing to protect employees from COVID-19, one of the first efforts to hold employers legally responsible for infections as cases in the U.S. surge.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas against the owners of Harrah’s, MGM Grand and Bellagio casinos, says the companies didn’t immediately shut down food-and-beverage outlets and other areas after learning of positive cases, didn’t immediately inform employees when co-workers tested positive and didn’t adequately contact-trace before allowing colleagues of infected employees to return to the job.
Culinary Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, through their joint bargaining agency, filed the lawsuit against Harrah’s Las Vegas LLC, a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment Corp. CZR, +2.72% , and the Signature Condominiums LLC at the MGM Grand and Bellagio LLC, subsidiaries of MGM Resorts International MGM, +6.99% . The lawsuit said unsafe working conditions violate the unions’ contract. The unions represent 60,000 hospitality workers.
In response to the lawsuit, MGM Resorts said the company has offered free testing to workers before returning to the job and requires testing for anyone with symptoms or who might have been exposed. Managers have been trained in response protocols and work closely with public-health officials on contract tracing following positive test results, according to the company.
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