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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
10-9-09

Hollywood Casino Tunica Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Robinsonville Casino Fired Injured Dealer Rather Than Permit Her to Sit While Working, Federal Agency Charged

OXFORD, Miss. – HWCC-Tunica, Inc., doing business as Hollywood Casino Tunica in Robinsonville, Miss., will pay $75,000 and provide other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit (No. 2:07-cv-171), filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division), had charged that Hollywood Casino Tunica denied one of its dealers a reasonable accommodations for her physical limitations. The woman had sustained injuries in an automobile accident, the EEOC said, and was perfectly capable of doing her job, but needed to sit while doing so. Instead of making that accommodation, the EEOC said, the casino fired her.

Failing to make reasonable accommodations for the physical limitations of a qualified individual with a disability or terminating her because of that disability violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

Besides providing monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers, Jr. enjoins Hollywood Casino Tunica from discriminating against any employee on the basis of a disability. The decree also requires that Hollywood Casino Tunica provide training on employment discrimination awareness to its management staff. Additionally, Hollywood Casino Tunica will maintain records of all complaints made of disability discrimination and submit reports to the Commission regarding these complaints.

“This case emphasizes the necessity of employers training their decision makers about the rights their employees have under the Americans With Disabilities Act,” said Faye Williams, regional attorney of the Memphis District Office of the EEOC. “When the employee requested an accommodation, this employer lacked knowledge of its obligation to engage in a flexible, interactive process with her to determine how such an accommodation could be provided to enable her to perform her job duties sitting down. The Commission believes that this settlement heralds a new level of understanding for Hollywood Casino Tunica with regard to the rights its employees with disabilities have under the ADA.”

HWCC-Tunica, Inc. is a facility of Penn National Gaming, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation that operates gambling casinos, racetracks, and hotels in 11 states and Canada.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The Memphis District Office has jurisdiction over Tennessee, Arkansas, and seventeen counties in Northern Mississippi. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.