Layoffs at Hollywood Casino leave many feeling betrayed

West Virginia

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — For more than 500 employees of the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Race Track in the eastern panhandle, this is their last weekend on the job.

At the last minute, the terms of their separation agreement were changed.

Penn National Gaming has terminated their jobs, a casualty of the pandemic which closed the facility as early public health restrictions were imposed. But those losing their jobs say benefits to which they were entitled under the terms of their hiring — such as unused paid time off [PTO]- have been stripped from them just days before they are released.

“About four days before the layoffs were going to begin, they announced on Facebook that they changed the policy,” said employee Wayne Thomas. “So they changed the policy of the PTO so they decided they’re not gonna pay us the PTO.”

One worker losing his job this weekend, fearing reprisal from the casino says he feels blindsided — and cheated.

“In the past when other employees have left the company their PTO was cashed out and they were sent a check a couple months later,” said the employee. “As of right now, four days ago, before we were set to be laid off on the 15th — on the 11th — they announced on a group chat that our PTO would not be paid out.”

That employee says many longtime, loyal employees feel especially betrayed.

“There are several people that have worked there that have hundreds of hours accrued of PTO that they were unable to take,” they added.

One laid off worker who says he has had perfect on-the-job attendance since he started in 2012 and never had a disciplinary problem feels that loyalty to the casino has not been returned. And those being laid off say they see a pattern: employees at the higher end of the wage scale are the first to be shown the door.

WDVM News reached out to Erich Zimny with Penn National Gaming. He told us he was unavailable to comment.

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