hmong dealers file discrimination lawsuit against fresno's club one casino

This week in Fresno, more than twenty current and former casino workers filed two class action lawsuits against the Club One Casino, charging that it engaged in discrimination by segregating and reducing the hours of Hmong poker dealers, as well as firing its older employees: Hmong dealers file lawsuits against Club One Casino.

Club One Casino, which runs the biggest card room in central California, is one of the largest employers in Fresno. The lawsuits, filed by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and law firm Minami Tamaki in Fresno Superior Court, allege that under new management, Club One sought to remake its image by excluding Hmong and older workers even though many had been working at the casino for more than ten years.

From APALC and Minami Tamaki's press release:
The class action lawsuits were filed Monday in Fresno Superior Court. Chang et al. v. Club One Casino was filed on behalf of 16 Asian workers alleging race and national origin discrimination, and Caglia et al. v. Club One Casino was filed on behalf of six older workers alleging age discrimination. The lawsuits allege that under Kirkland's management, Club One sought to create a new image, one that excluded its Hmong and older workers even though many had been working at Club One for more than 10 years. Chang et al v. Club One Casino also alleges that the casino, as part of company-wide pattern of employment discrimination, targeted Hmong and other Asian employees with real or perceived accents.

"Club One Casino's exclusion of Hmong poker dealers from working during high profile poker events bears ugly reminders of a time when minorities could only sit in the back of the bus," said APALC Attorney Justin Ma. "Club One has no problem soliciting business from Asian customers, which makes its treatment of Asian workers particularly reprehensible."

APALC and Minami Tamaki previously brought a pending class action lawsuit against Club One for several wage violations including confiscating tips customers leave for dealers and failing to pay workers a minimum wage. The case is currently before an arbitrator.

The complaints filed Monday allege that under Kirkland's management, Club One systematically segregated its Hmong dealers from working at well-publicized, special event poker tournaments. For example, when a Hmong dealer walked to a tournament table to work, he was stopped by a supervisor and replaced by a Caucasian dealer. Club One also dramatically reduced the working hours of at least 28 Asian dealers all on the same day in August 2008. And one by one, Club One fired or forced out at least 30 workers who were 40 years of age and older.
Read the rest of the press release here. I have to agree with APALC attorney Justin Ma -- the casino doesn't seem to have a problem with pumping as much money as it can from Asian customers, but apparently doesn't want an Asian face to greet you from behind the blackjack table. That's racist! More here: Bias lawsuits target Fresno's Club One Casino .

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