Casino Queen employees claim racial discrimination in suit

By Steve Gonzalez | Sep 5, 2007

Twenty current and former employees of the Casino Queen allege the business engaged in racial discrimination and retaliated against black employees who complained about it, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

The plaintiffs claim that while employed at the casino they witnessed and personally experienced acts of racially motivated harassment, discrimination and hostile work environment by the Casino Queen.

"Plaintiffs were subjected to an ongoing, systematic racially hostile work environment including, but not limited to, disparate treatment with respect to discipline, reprimands and warnings, promotions, and assignment of duties," the complaint states.

"Black employees receive harsher discipline for work responsibilities," the complaint also states. "White employees engaging in similar conduct are not disciplined or receive a lesser warning than black employees."

The plaintiffs also claim white employees receive promotions and other employment benefits over black employees with greater or similar seniority and also are assigned to more favorable job duties than black employees of greater or similar seniority.

"Black employees are subjected to termination of employment for acts which white employees are not," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim that as a result of the Casino Queen's alleged unlawful conduct, they have suffered and will continue to suffer severe humiliation, embarrassment, degradation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress.

They also claim they have suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of their employment and career with the Casino Queen, and in the casino industry generally, including the loss of salary, wages, bonuses, benefits and other compensation which such employment entails, as well as future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses.

"The unlawful conduct of the Casino Queen was done with malice or reckless indifference to Plaintiffs' rights under Title VII, and was so outrageous, extreme and in disregard of the interests of the Plaintiffs so as to entitle the Plaintiffs to an award of punitive damages," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs are represented by Stephen McGlynn of Belleville.

He is seeking a judgment for his clients as follows:

  • That a finding be entered that the Casino Queen intentionally harassed and discriminated against the Plaintiffs with malice or reckless indifference to Plaintiffs' federally protected rights in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)-3, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991;

  • That Plaintiffs be made whole by providing compensation for past and future non pecuniary losses resulting from the unlawful employment practices, including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, damage to reputation and humiliation, in amounts to be determined at trial;

  • That Plaintiffs be awarded all wages, benefit and compensation lost due to the Casino Queen's unlawful conduct, including back pay and all future pecuniary losses, with prejudgment interest, and such other equitable relief as may be deemed necessary to eradicate the effects of the unlawful employment practices;

  • That Plaintiffs each be awarded all other compensatory damages permitted by law;

  • That Plaintiffs be awarded $1 million in punitive damages;

  • That Plaintiffs each be awarded reasonable attorneys fees and costs; and

  • That Plaintiffs each be awarded such other relief as this Court may deem just and proper, including costs.

    Mark S. Schuver, William J. Niehoff and Shannon K. Cook of Mathis, Marifian, Richter & Grandy in Belleville will assist McGlynn.

    The case has been assigned to District Judge Michael Reagan.

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