1971 Consent Decree

A consent decree is as an order issued by a court that expresses a voluntary agreement by the participants in a lawsuit. In 1971, a consent decree alleged a series of violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Las Vegas gaming industry was continuing to discriminate against black workers.

Local NAACP attorney Charles Kellar initiated the original design of the 1971 consent decree. Plaintiffs who signed agreeing to adhere to the stipulated terms that twelve percent (12%) of all jobs in the resorts industry would go to blacks included the Nevada Resort Association, Aladdin Hotel, Castaways Hotel, Caesars Palace, Desert Inn Hotel and Country Club, Dunes Hotel and Country Club, Flamingo Hotel, Frontier Hotel, Hacienda Hotel, International Hotel, Landmark Hotel, Riviera Hotel, Sahara Hotel, Sands Hotel, Stardust Hotel, Silver Slipper, Thunderbird Hotel, and the Tropicana Hotel. Labor Unions that signed the consent decree consisted of the Local Union 995, Professional Clerical; Ground Maintenance, Parking Lot Attendants, Car Rental Employees, Warehousemen and Helpers; Local Union 720, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada; Local 226, Culinary Workers Union; Local 165, Bartenders Union.

The hotels and unions promised “to hire and assign applicants for employment, and shall promote, transfer, train, demote and dismiss employees without regard to race and without engaging in any act or practice which has the purpose or the effect of discriminating against any individual because of his race or color in regards to his employment opportunities, and shall promote and transfer employees in such a way as to provide employment opportunities to black persons which are equal to those provided to white persons.”[1]

The decree demanded the implementation of a program and procedures by the Resort Association, hotels, and unions within 30 days. Plans included the notification of the NAACP, the Concentrated Employment Program (a program of the Economic Opportunity Board), and the State Employment Security Department.[2] The NAACP branch administration felt comfortable that as long as they were vigilant, the resorts would continue to comply with the mandate. After a number of years, they weren’t and the resorts didn’t.

Submitted by Claytee D. White

PHOTO (L-R): Donald Clark with Charles Kellar in 1961.

[1] United State of America v. Nevada Resort Association, Aladdin Hotel, Castaways Hotel, Caesars Palace, Desert Inn Hotel and Country Club, Dunes Hotel and Country Club, Flamingo Hotel, Frontier Hotel, Hacienda Hotel, International Hotel, Landmark Hotel, Riviera Hotel, Sahara Hotel, Sands Hotel, Stardust Hotel, Silver Slipper, Thunderbird Hotel, and the Tropicana Hotel. Labor Unions that signed the consent decree consisted of the Local Union 995, Professional Clerical; Ground Maintenance, Parking Lot Attendants, Car Rental Employees, Warehousemen and Helpers; Local Union 720, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada; Local 226, Culinary Workers Union; Local 165, Bartenders Union, Consent decree LV 1645, 4 June 1971.

[2] Ibid.