There are 35,000,000 more reasons not to treat your workplace like a singles bar.
Today’s example: Wynn Resorts.
I’ve written about Wynn before and shine a spotlight on them in my book The Arsonist In The Office . The high-end gaming company with interests both in the U.S. and Macau had been on the rise until the world learned about other gambles Wynn’s founder, Steve Wynn had been making: that is, bets on whether he’d ever get caught for his non-stop sexual harassment of employees.
Wynn’s acts, chronicled various reports in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, had become institutionalized within the Wynn corporate culture. His HR department served as his secret police against employees who complained about Wynn’s sexcapades.
In 2017, Wynn failed to keep the lid on the gossip, just as #MeToo started to gain strength. Wynn was forced out and various remaining staffers, including his ex-wife Elaine Wynn, sought to clean up the toxic swamp he created.
But that wasn’t the end of the problems.
Just yesterday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission fined Wynn Resorts $35 million for not disclosing sexual misconduct accusations against Wynn at the time (2015) the company filed its application for a gaming license for its soon-to-open $1 billion resort in Boston, MA.
As is the case in many toxic workplaces, cover ups are rampant. This episode, exposed by the release of numerous internal documents from Wynn Resorts showed that numerous executives hid information from the MGC regulators.
There are lessons for all levels of an organization to learn in a case like this, but one key area of focus should be on the board of directors at Wynn, who clearly showed a disregard for dealing with Wynn’s behavior. Board members need to worry about an organizations culture, as stories can affect the financial standing, legal liability, ability to attract and retain good employees and productivity of organizations. Board members who look the other way because of their board slots (and probably cool casino suites with great views) are forgetting their fiduciary responsibility.
The $35 million loss by Wynn is a lot more that a bad night at the Blackjack table. It’s time for organizations to extinguish their arsonists–whether they’re in management or if the arsonist is the company founder.
Pete Havel is a speaker, trainer, and consultant on workplace culture and leadership. He’s also the author of “The Arsonist in the Office: Fireproofing Your Life Against Toxic Coworkers, Bosses, Employees, and Cultures,” named as a #1 Hot New Release by Amazon. It’s available at www.arsonistintheoffice.com
Pete can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 214-244-7906.
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