Station Casinos sued by hospitality workers

Palace Station photographed on Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Veg ...

A group of 76 hospitality workers filed a mass tort lawsuit Tuesday against one of Nevada’s largest gaming companies over suspected violations of the state’s Right to Return law.

The 55-page lawsuit, filed in a Clark County court Tuesday morning, accuses Station Casinos of failing to comply with the law which requires certain employers to give hospitality workers who lost their job due to the pandemic the chance to return to work. The 76 former and current Station Casinos employees are seeking damages, civil penalties, back pay and reinstatement to positions for which they are qualified.

The Culinary Union, a driving force behind the bill during the 2021 Legislature, hosted a press conference Tuesday morning with many of the employees. The union is throwing its weight behind the workers even though it does not represent them.

“Station Casinos, which fought enactment of the law every step of the way, isn’t following the law,” union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said Tuesday. “They need to do the right thing — their current and former employers demand and deserve justice.”

The Right to Return law, or Senate Bill 386, went into effect July 1, 2021. It enshrined protections for hospitality workers who lost their job due to the pandemic by mandating employers to offer former employees their previous jobs or a similar position if one becomes available.

In a statement, a Station Casinos spokesman called the lawsuit “only the latest in a series of empty publicity stunts by the Culinary Union,” adding that the law itself was a publicity stunt.

“While we are not even sure what a ‘mass action lawsuit’ is in this context, we are certain that it is intended to harass and bully Station Casinos,” spokesman Michael Britt said.

Culinary Local 226 spokeswoman Bethany Khan said 98 percent of Culinary members were laid off due to the pandemic and about 80 percent of members have returned to work.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.