No protection against harassment
A former employee of the Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek has filed a lawsuit against the venue due to sexual harassment issues.
A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court accuses the single-level betting house of failing to provide protection to employees. The plaintiff claims the casino retaliated against her after she filed charges against a regular patron due to his inappropriate actions against her.
Sexually aggressive behavior
The individual named in the lawsuit as the harasser is Laurence Earnhart. Employees called him “Scary Larry” due to his sexually aggressive behavior. In May 2017, Earnhart grabbed the victim in the crotch area and sexually harassed other employees on the same night.
The victim reported the incident involving Earnhart to the management of the casino and police. Earnhart was arrested and convicted of sexual harassment. According to the victim, she felt singled out and isolated after the incident. She also stated that she felt set up to fail within her position at the casino.
Sexual harassment lawsuit claims
In her filing against the casino, the victim states sexual harassment issues in the workplace and called the work environment “a hostile one.” The victim is claiming retaliation by the venue and wrongful termination, seeking damages that have yet to be specified.
Employees as well as witnesses and managers reportedly told casino officials of Earnhart’s behavior. According to the filing, the casino did not protect the employees from Earnhart’s actions. The inappropriate touching and sexual advances by Earnhart had supposedly occurred for several months.
On the night in question, Earnhart allegedly placed his face into an employee’s breasts. This incident was reported to officials. He was not removed from the property. The plaintiff claims that he attacked her later that evening.
The lawsuit states:
While the decision to exclude Mr. Earnhart from the facility was appropriate, such action should have been taken earlier.”
After the attack
Police arrived after the attack on the plaintiff. Charges against Earnhart were filed. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment in March of last year.
According to the lawsuit, the victim suffers from PTSD based on the attack. After the incident, the victim says her employees retaliated. In the lawsuit, she claims that managers of the casino increased her workload while staff coverage decreased.
Managers disciplined the plaintiff for the way she handled drink orders during peak times, while she completed the task based on training protocols. The lawsuit also claims managers watched the plaintiff on video surveillance to find flaws in her performance.
The victim was eventually fired on July 19, 2017.