As states pass non-smoking laws, fewer service employees are exposed to customers’ second-hand smoke. But should companies be liable for their workers who still encounter it on the job? Some businesses are facing lawsuits.
Lawyers have filed two class-action lawsuits against Las Vegas casinos, alleging that the health of employees is being affected by second-hand smoke.
The latest lawsuit is against the Wynn Las Vegas. The first one was against Caesars Palace.
Caesars hasn’t filed its answer to the lawsuit. Wynn Las Vegas didn’t respond to a request for comment by the Las Vegas Sun.
The suit says the smoke is causing employees to suffer eye irritation, coughing, sore throat, sneezing, shortness of breath, dizziness, wheezing, tightness in the chest, asthma, headache, nausea, and ingestion of cancer-causing chemicals and toxins.
Lawyers for the casino workers claim some Las Vegas properties have taken measures to minimize second-hand smoke on their gaming floors. The Bellagio has a high-tech air filtration system. The Palazo built smoke-free corridors and half of its gaming area is non-smoking.
The suit also charges that Wynn employees risk losing their jobs if they complain about the second-hand smoke.
The suit seeks an order requiring Wynn “to take reasonable measures to protect its employees from second-hand smoke” and unspecified costs and attorney’s fees.
The suit against Caesars notes that the Palace and its sister properties, Bally’s and Paris, were part of a study released in May by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The study found that casino dealers had traces of a tobacco-specific carcinogen in their urine. The NIOSH study said, “The increase in [a known lung carcinogen] in the urine of most non-poker casino dealers at the end of their work shift demonstrates that non-poker casino dealers are exposed to a known carcinogen in the tobacco smoke at the casinos. The best means of eliminating workplace exposure … is to ban all smoking in the casinos.”
What do you think about the lawsuit? Should a court be able to order a business to go smoke-free? Let us know in the Comments Box below.