Week Adjourned: 10.23.09

Want a smoke? You may not have a choice at the casinoTop Class Actions

Wynn Gambling with Employees Health? After all the noise about second hand smoke being a known risk factor for cancer, you would think the last thing an employer would want to do is wilfully expose its employees to the carcinogen. At the very least, why risk the lawsuit, right? 

Wrong. The employees at Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and Casino filed a class action lawsuit this week, alleging that Wynn failed to provide a safe work environment for its employees and failed to protect them from the effects of second-hand smoke.

According to the suit, the risks are exacerbated for employees because not only is smoking permitted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but it is also encouraged. In some cases the casino gives cigarettes away to gamblers on the casino floor. What? That’s bad judgement no matter how you look at it.

The suit further claims employees that complain about the smoke risk losing their jobs. So, let’s see, you have to choose between risking your health or your livelihood. Or sue. Well—I’d choose the last option as well. 

Top Settlements

New Math on Big Bank Fees: Big Banks = Big Fees = Big Lawsuits = Big Settlements. At least that’s the way some 10 million plaintiffs saw it, and so did the judge. After a staggering 8 years of litigation, Judge William Pauley of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan granted final approval to a $336 million settlement favoring credit card holders who allege they were being unfairly charged for foreign currency transactions.  

To be precise, the class action alleged that Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, HSBC Holdings, and JPMorgan Chase & Co, conspired to overcharge consumers on foreign currency transactions. Preliminary approval of the settlement was granted in 2006, and covered holders of US-issued Visa and MasterCard credit cards, as well as Diners Club and debit card holders who made foreign currency transactions between 1996 and 2006. 

Some of these names should sound familiar, as there are allegations that they are overcharging on overdraft fees as well.

Sexual Harassment Suit Settled for $9.2 Million

How about this for a down and dirty tale of sexual harassment: a former female employee of Alpharetta, a Georgia-based mortgage company, sued her former boss, none other than the CEO of the company, alleging he had sexually harassed and discriminated against her.

According to the suit, not only did he harass her, he also continued to threaten a colleague and new employer after she had left the company—he allegedly attempted to have her fired from that position once she had filed her sexual harassment lawsuit. I’ll bet her lawyers had a field day with this one! They must have, because the jury in Georgia awarded the woman $9.2 million in damages. Well done!

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