Hmong and Older Workers File Suit Against Casino One in Fresno

Lawsuit Press conference (from Minami Tamaki LLP)

Legal advocacy firms have brought a class-action suit against Fresno-based Club One Casino. In separate complaints filed April 11, 16 former workers allege discrmination based on ethnic background and another six say they were discriminated against because of their age. Both groups also allege that when they spoke out, the Club retaliated against them. The workers are seeking up to several hundred thousand dollars in lost compensation.

Though 30% of Club One Casino's dealers are of Southeast Asian descent, these workers were prevented from working as dealers at three celebrity poker events at the club.

Bee Vang, a decade-long Club One Casino dealer, said he wasn't allowed to deal at special event tournament tables after new owners took over three years ago. All the Hmong and Cambodian dealers also had their hours reduced, some from five days to one. "They said we didn't know how to deal or speak English properly," Vang said. Toney Johnson, a former shift supervisor said age was the main factor for his 2008 firing at 65 years-old. He said younger, less-experienced floor people were hired in his place. He describe how he has been unable to find work since.

The workers are represented by Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) in Los Angeles and San Francisco law firm Minami Tamaki LLP. They estimate that dozens more workers had suffered similar unfair treatment. They are asking other former Club One Casino employees who have faced age and race discrimination suit to join the suit.

Club One's new ownership had changed policies toward their workers.