LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Wynn Resorts is taking another step toward fully reopening their doors by revealing a new policy which gives employees two options: get the vaccine and show proof or be prepared to submit weekly negative COVID-19 test results on the employee's own time and expense.
Nearly one year after the total shutdown of the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas properties the vaccines are here.
A memo obtained by 13 Investigates spells out the new policy for employees.
While the company is not requiring employees to get the COVID-19 shot they are highly encouraging it.
For those who chose not to get it, or are medically unable to get the vaccine, they will have to take weekly virus tests to demonstrate they do not have COVID-19.
"My issue with it is they're using coercive tactics, like making us pay out of our own pocket and I think that's how they get out of it saying, 'oh, well technically is not mandatory because you have to get tested weekly," said Nikki, a Wynn employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity and feared retribution.
That worker says she has been with the company for 11 years and is upset by the new policy.
"This is about my kids, this is about being an American, about my body ,my choice, it's about being able to say no to a medical procedure and it doesn't end here," added Nikki.
13 Investigates reported Thursday, approximately 60% of Wynn Las Vegas staff have been vaccinated as of April 8.
Wynn CEO Matt Maddox addressed those who were hesitant about receiving the vaccine in a prepared video release.
"For those of you that choose not to get vaccinated, we want to ensure that this is the safest place to visit the safest place for our staff the safest place to work, so we are going to require a negative COVID test each week for those that do not get vaccinated," explained Maddox.
The memo also notes employees who have received the vaccine will be asked to submit proof by April 25.
Employees who elect not to get the shot will have to show their testing results from that point and noted on-site testing is available at the resort property for $15 per test.
There is also free testing available through the Southern Nevada Health District.
"I think it's legal, I think it's a very creative solution," said Richard Dreitzer, an attorney and expert in employment law.
Dreitzer believes Wynn is within the letter of the law and says employment and employee arguments regarding the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine likely won't hold up in legal proceedings.
“I think to hang your hat on 'this is still untested, it’s still subject to an emergency use authorization therefore we don’t wanna be a guinea pig,' I don’t think that argument is going to have a lot of traction," explained Dreitzer.
Dreitzer also believes the law allows employers to force employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of their employment.
The memo also includes a section of frequently asked questions and says those who fail to get the vaccine and fail to submit to the COVID testing policy face punishment up to and including termination.
13 Investigates reached out to both Wynn Las Vegas and to the Culinary Union regarding the employee concerns after business hours and did not immediately receive a response.