March 26, 2009 - Former Harrah's Worker Sues Over Asbestos

A former maintenance supervisor at Harrah's Las Vegas casino is suing the hotel for allegedly exposing him to cancer-causing asbestos.

Ernie Savannah, who was laid off last month, also claims in his lawsuit filed in federal court that Harrah's caused him anguish by forcing him to arrange the firing of electrician Fred Frazzetta, who was a whistle-blower, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday.

Savannah claims Harrah's managers ordered him to "get rid of" Frazzetta, who in 2006 had reported suspicions about a hotel remodeling project to Clark County building officials and to the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Savannah is seeking $10 million in damages from Harrah's and from his union, Local 501 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, which he said failed to protect his safety on the job.

"When I come home with the fibers, (hotel bosses) never told us we were supposed to decontaminate when we leave" the work site, Savannah was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

The newspaper noted that Nevada OSHA levied a fine of $6,930 against Harrah's Las Vegas in 2006 for 12 serious safety violations involving asbestos.

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