Allegations of age discrimination in the hospitality and casino industry are not new to California employment discrimination lawyers. These industries thrive on an image that values looks and youth. Popular Fresno Casino Club One is facing allegations of age and race discrimination by a group of senior and Asian American employees.
The employees are being represented by the Southern California-based Asian Pacific American Legal Center, which is now asking former employees of the club to join the class-action lawsuit. The class-action complaint has been filed against Club One Casino and its owner Kirk Kirkland. Two separate complaints have been filed. In these, 16 workers allege national origin and race discrimination, while six workers allege age discrimination. The lawsuit seeks several hundred thousand dollars in compensation. The plaintiffs allege that when they spoke out about the discrimination, they were fired.
The plaintiffs held a conference this week talking about their experiences at the company. According to the older employees, they were fired because of their age, and younger, less experienced employees were hired in their place. Some of these employees have dozens of years of service to their credit, including one employee who had worked for the former operator of Club One for 22 years.
In 2008, Kirk Kirkland bought the Club One Casino from its former owner. Right from the beginning, he made it clear that he wanted to turn the casino into a Las Vegas-style facility, and part of that image makeover was hiring young, good-looking women. Many of the older employees were told they were no longer welcome.
There are also allegations based on age discrimination at the company. Approximately 30% of Club One casino dealers are of South East Asian descent, but they complain that none of them were chosen as front and center dealers at three celebrity poker events that were hosted by the casino. Some of them were fired when Kirkland took over the casino. According to them, the casino informed them that they did not know how to deal probably, and could not speak proper English.