Las Vegas Blackjack Dealers Demanding Protection From Secondhand Smoke

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Blackjack dealers and croupiers have filed a federal class action lawsuit against Wynn Las Vegas. Their goal is to force their employer to protect them from secondhand smoke, reports The New York Times.

What this lawsuit against Wynn Las Vegas has going for it is a state law in Nevada mandating a smoke-free workplace. In November 2006, a voter initiative was passed, which became law the very next month, banning smoking in most workplaces and their extensions -- as with malls and indoor public places. At the time, the gaming areas of casinos were exempt. But it looks like the exemption will be at least weakened by designated smoke-free areas and sophisticated ventilation systems.

What the lawsuit has against it is the downturn in Las Vegas. Gaming is the industry with the most potential to bounce back. Those who put any obstacles in the way of the economic health of casinos could be perceived as right up there with those who push for cuts in Social Security benefits or for raising the retirement age. It's well known that even some patrons of casinos who don't usually smoke cigarettes enjoy the habit when playing. That's part of the what-happens-in-Vegas-stays-in-Vegas ethos.

The lawsuit against Wynn Las Vegas could break new ground in employment law. Protection of the work force could trump every other legal -- and economic -- argument.

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