Pittsburgh Casino Loses $1.49m Cocktail Waitress LawsuitAugust 21, 2015 2:28 pm
The Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino has just been ordered to pay one of its cocktail waitress $150,000 in compensatory damages, and another $999,000 in punitive damages after a high-rolling patron sexually harassed her back in 2014. While the casino banned the high-roller at the time, the venue subsequently reinstated him just 40 days later, without letting Allyson Pelesky, 28, know in advance. Commenting on the case, the waitress of five years said:
“From the very beginning, all I asked was that this man did not come back to the casino. I didn’t want to have to see him every day.”
Prior to the harassment incident, Allyson Pelesky had never experienced any problems working as a full-time cocktail waitress at the casino, according to her attorney, Timothy Barry. On April 2014, a high-rolling regular customer then allegedly tried to place a $1 casino chip down her bra, and made contact with her breast at the same time. Despite causing extreme discomfort and embarrassment, Allyson Pelesky seemed satisfied with the management’s decision to ban him for life, and subsequently told a state troopers stationed at the venue that she did not want to press charges. By June, however, the patron was welcomed back to the casino, despite her pleadings, and as Mr. Barry explains:
“He denied he did it. He said the chip hit her tip jar and then bounced into her bra. Our position is they let him back in because he was a high roller.”
Dismissing the customer’s explanation, Mr. Barry said he was only admitted back because of the money he spent at the casino, a claim vehemently denied by the Rivers Casino. Ultimately, however, the federal jury agreed with Allyson Pelesky, and as her attorney later explained:
“The verdict was supported by the evidence and the jury was obviously upset about the evidence they heard”.
Despite her huge legal compensation, Allyson Pelesky says she still intends to keep on working at the casino.