U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Casino Failed to Stop Sexual Harassment and Then Cut the Pay of Female Bartender in Retaliation for Her Complaints, Federal Agency Charges

BALTIMORE – Las Vegas, Nev.-headquartered Golden Entertainment, Inc., trading as Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Md., violated federal law when it allowed a female bartender to be sexually harassed and then retaliated against her after she opposed the illegal conduct, the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the lawsuit, a male bartender at Rocky Gap Casino repeatedly made sexually offensive remarks to a female bartender and touched her inappropriately. She first re­ported the harassing conduct to her supervisor, who did nothing to stop the harassment and instead continued scheduling her to work with the offending bartender. Then she reported the harassing conduct to human resources, but that department also failed to take corrective action. Not long after that, the harassing bartender approached her from behind and whispered to her that nothing bad would happen to him as a con­sequence of his misconduct, the EEOC charges.

The EEOC says Rocky Gap Casino retaliated against the female bartender by reassigning her to a location where she made less money, while keeping the male bartender at the more lucrative location. The bartender was forced to quit her job due to the sexual harassment and retaliation, according to the lawsuit.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harass­ment based on sex and forbids employers from retaliating against an employee because she complains of sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Golden Entertainment, Inc., T/A Rocky Gap Casino Resort, Civil Action No.1:20-cv-02811-CCB) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Sexual harassment and retaliation are illegal under federal law and have no business in the work­place,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson. “Employees have the right to work in an environment that is free from such abuse and should not be retaliated against for reporting it.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “Federal law requires employers to address sexual harassment complaints promptly and appropriately, especially when the harassment includes physical assaults. Retaliation by transferring a worker because she complained only makes the situation worse. In this case, the harm was further magnified because the retaliation led to a drastic pay cut that compelled the worker to leave the job.”

The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.