Sahara Accused of Discrimination of Egyptian Worker

July 31, 2009 ( - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit accusing the Sahara Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip of creating a hostile work environment for an Egyptian kitchen employee and retaliating against him when he reported it.

According to an EEOC press release, the complaint says the Sahara’s supervisors and coworkers continuously belittled and harassed Ezzat Elias, whose job was delivering food from the kitchen to the hotel buffet and maintaining the buffet, because of his Egyptian heritage. The harassment included offensive comments, slurs, and graffiti, such as being called “Bin Laden,” and “Taliban,” and being told to “go back to Egypt.”

Elias was also targeted with graffiti, which he was then required to wash off, the press release said. Despite Elias’s repeated complaints of harassment, according to the EEOC, the defendants failed to take effective measures to stop it, and supervisors instead retaliated against him, which included disciplinary write-ups and suspension.

EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park commented in the press release: “Employers only compound their problems when they fail to take discrimination complaints seriously. This allows harassment to escalate into retaliation.”