Nevada Court Punts Retaliatory-Firing Case

     CARSON CITY, Nev. (CN) – The Nevada Supreme Court refused to revive retaliatory-firing claims by a woman who lost her job inside the Stagecoach Casino after her fiance filed a complaint against it.
     Karen Brown worked as an assistant manager for a nut and candy store located inside the Stagecoach Hotel and Casino of Beatty, Nev.
     After her fiance, Donald Allen, filed a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Commission about the Stagecoach’s slot machines, Brown says she saw her work hours increasingly assigned to other workers until she was fired.
     She says casino officials knew Allen was her fiance, and that a common owner controls the Stagecoach and the owner of the candy store, Eddie World Inc.
     Brown sued Eddie World and the Stagecoach in Nye County District Court for retaliatory firing, but Stagecoach said Brown did not state an actionable offense and that Nevada has no laws against retaliatory firings over the actions of third parties.
     The Nevada Supreme Court refused last week to “recognize, for the first time, a common law cause of action for third-party retaliatory” firing.
     “If we were to recognize Brown’s claim, the theory of third-party retaliatory discharge would ‘have no logical stopping point,'” Justice Ron Parraguirre wrote for the court. “Allen was neither a Stagecoach employee nor under any obligation to report perceived violations of Nevada’s gaming regulations.”
     Parraguirre said third-party retaliatory firings apply only to instances in which another employee reports a possible law-breaking by an employer.
     “Brown has not alleged Stagecoach ever employed Allen,” he wrote. “Thus, this most basic requirement of an employment relationship … is not satisfied.”
     The decision comes despite the concession that “enforcing gaming laws is a fundamental public policy in Nevada.”
     Brown’s attorney, Daniel Marks, could not be reached for comment.
     Attorney David Stephens was not available for comment before press time.

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