The United States District Court for the District of Nevada has dismissed a case against Wynn Resorts Ltd by nine women who claimed they were sexually harassed by the company’s former Chairman and CEO, Steve Wynn.
The women, all employed as manicurists and makeup artists at a Wynn Las Vegas salon at the time of the alleged transgressions, filed their complaint in September 2019 claiming Mr Wynn and other Wynn Resorts executives had pressured them to avoid speaking with media.
However, fearing that “disclosure of their identities will subject them to further retaliation, humiliation and scorn,” the women chose to remain anonymous in the complaint and were instead identified only as Jane Doe No 1 through Jane Doe No 9.
That anonymity has now proved decisive, with the District Court last week backing the earlier decision by a federal magistrate judge dismissing the case on grounds that by hiding their identities the women did not adequately plead their case.
“Although plaintiffs wish to preserve their anonymity, this causes several deficiencies in their claims against the Wynn defendants,” said Judge James Mahan.
“Throughout their complaint, plaintiffs use generalized and vague statements without individualized factual support for their allegations.”
Mahan also noted that sexual harassment complaints must be filed individually, rather than collectively.
The lawsuit, which was dismissed without prejudice, can be refiled.
Allegations of sexual harassment by Steve Wynn were first revealed in an explosive Wall Street Journal article in January 2018.
The 78-year-old, who co-founded Wynn Resorts in 2002, subsequently stepped down as Chairman and CEO of the company in February 2018 and later sold off his entire 12.1% stake in the company.
Wynn Resorts was hit with a record US$20 million fine by the Nevada Gaming Commission in February 2019, and another US$35 million fine by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission three months later, for failing to investigate claims of sexual harassment by multiple women against its former Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn.
The Wynn Resorts board has undergone a raft of changes since Wynn’s departure, including the appointment of former Harrah’s CEO Phil Satre as Chairman and the introduction of four new female board members.