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Former Thunder Valley Casino Employees File Civil Suit

27 Jan 2005

CALIFORNIA –As reported by the Sacramento Bee: "In a court challenge that pits individual workers' rights against an Indian tribe's sovereignty, seven former employees of Thunder Valley Casino have filed a civil suit alleging sexual harassment, age and sex discrimination and wrongful termination.

"The Auburn Indian Community owns Thunder Valley, the wildly successful casino that, with a work force of 2,200, is among Placer County's largest employers.

"Attorneys for both sides say the case, filed in Sacramento Superior Court, could hinge on the tribe's contention that its status as a sovereign nation exempts it from most state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

"The seven plaintiffs - all women - worked in a variety of jobs at the casino. Their class-action suit covers a broad range of employment issues, but the most provocative allegations deal with sexual harassment.

"In the lawsuit, one plaintiff alleges a casino executive, Curtis Broome, twice forced himself on her sexually.

"…Another plaintiff claims that Broome, the casino's director of information technology, fondled and forcefully kissed her. After she complained about his conduct to her supervisor, according to the suit, she was transferred and eventually fired.

"In addition to Broome, the suit names as defendants the tribe, the casino, Station Casinos, which has a management contract to operate Thunder Valley, and other unnamed parties. The plaintiffs are asking for unspecified damages.

"…But the merits of the suit may never be heard in Superior Court because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that tribes, as sovereign nations, have the right to establish their own laws and are generally immune from civil lawsuits…"

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