Workers Sue Harrah’s Over Secondhand Smoke

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Harrah’s and Caesar’s Palace refuse to protect more than 1,000 employees from secondhand smoke, though other casinos protect their employees, a class action claims in Federal Court.

     Lead plaintiff Tomo Stephens says she had to quit her job as a blackjack dealer at Caesar’s Palace after her doctor found precancerous cells in her stomach and told her that continuing to work on the casino floor, where smoking is permitted, would exacerbate her condition.
     Caesar’s Palace did not offer her alternative employment in a smoke-free environment, she says.
     Stephens says Harrah’s prohibits its employees from asking customers to blow smoke away from the table or move their ashtrays, and does not designate “smoke free” tables.
     Other casinos, such as Bellagio and Pallazo, protect their employees by installing air-filtration systems and designating smoke-free corridors, according to the complaint.
     But Stephens says Caesar’s Palace actually removed a pamphlet on the dangers of secondhand smoke that used to be distributed at its Health and Wellness Center.
     She cites a multiyear investigation by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that found employees who work on the casino floor suffered more from symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness and other smoke-related issues than those who worked in less smoky areas.
     The class wants Caesar’s and Harrah’s ordered to take measures to reduce workers’ exposure to secondhand smoke, to distribute the pamphlet in the wellness center again, and to pay courts costs and attorney’s fees.
     They are represented by Marc Cook with Bailus Cook & Kelesis.

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