LAS VEGAS (CN) - Three bodyguards who protected the family of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson claim they were not promoted to the task of protecting the casino magnate himself because they are black.
James Jackson, James Martin and DeJuan Robinson say they were hired as "Executive Protection Agents" in an "Executive Protection Team," which for the past 14 years "has been comprised exclusively of former Israeli citizens who are white males."
The men say they protected Adelson's wife, children and stepchildren in the United States and abroad.
But they say that in those 14 years, the Las Vegas Sands has "never hired or promoted" a black security guard to "personally guard Adelson."
When an opportunity arose for them to protect Adelson, they say they were passed over and told they lacked experience.
In the complaint in Clark County Court, Robinson says he is a former professional football player who was assigned, through the U.S. Marshal's Service, to protect judges assigned to the case of United States of America v. Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman in New York.
Jackson says he served in the Navy for 18 years and achieved the rank of E-7.
Martin says he received his B.A. from Northern Arizona University and later became a deputy sheriff in Maricopa County, Ariz.
The men say that the Sands' "discriminatory intent has been manifested by [Sands vice president] Zohar Lahav in the form of racial 'jokes' which were regularly shared with white" security agents.
"By way of example, Lahav's favorite joke was as follows: 'What do you call a black guy when he leaves the room ... Nigger,'" according to the complaint.
They say Lahav also referred to them as "fried chicken and watermelon eaters."
They seek compensatory, consequential and punitive damages for discrimination.
They are represented by Donald Campell with Campbell & Williams.
The defendants are Las Vegas Sands Corp. and the Venetian Casino Resort.
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