LAS VEGAS — Nevada casino regulators have adopted new rules against workplace sexual bias.
The state Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously amended state regulations to prohibit discrimination or harassment of a person based on the person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability or national origin.
The new rules apply to casinos, suppliers, vendors, contractors or consultants to hotels and related gambling businesses, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported .
They take effect immediately, but licensees have until March to finalize compliance plans.
Critics said the final policies fall short of expectations and duplicate language in federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Nevada Equal Rights Commission regulations.
However, Jan Jones Blackhurst, a Caesars Entertainment Corp. board member and former Las Vegas mayor who was critical of commission inaction a year ago, told the Review-Journal she was happy with the outcome.
“I’m glad that the commission made the decision to move forward,” Blackhurst said. “I think they mostly embody rules that are already required by the EEOC through the federal government and they restated laws that are already are in effect. But it’s better than nothing.”
Regulators took up the question of new sexual harassment regulations in May 2018, following a scandal that led to the resignation of Wynn Resorts Ltd. chairman and chief executive Steve Wynn in February 2018.
Steve Wynn has denied all accusations that he sexually harassed or assaulted employees at his hotels.
Amendments to regulations were first proposed by former Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris, and continued by Sandra Morgan, who became head of the regulatory board in January.
Approval by the five-member commission came after Chairman Tony Alamo expressed concerns Nov. 7 about outlining penalties for sexual harassment against Nevada gambling licensees before a bid to revoke Steve Wynn’s casino license is decided.
The commission last year froze Wynn’s license, and a five-count Nevada Gaming Control Board complaint accusing him of workplace sexual harassment is pending.
Alamo said he felt there was enough new substance in the amendment addressing sexual harassment to bring it before the full commission for consideration.
The commission held workshops on the proposed amendments Oct. 23 and Nov. 6, as well as in 2018 when Harris brought them up.
The Nevada Resort Association supported the new rules,
“Its clear regulators wanted to make a statement that preventing harassment and discrimination in the workplace is a priority,” association spokeswoman Dawn Christenson said.