Backlash has continued from New Jersey casino employees over their working conditions and being exposed to secondhand smoke as a result of new laws. 

Looking to elevate their case, a lawsuit has been filed in the State Superior Court of New Jersey in Mercer County against Gov. Philip Murphy and Dr. Kaitlin Baston, the state’s Health Commissioner over allegations of workers’ rights being violated.

It was pursued by the United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents employees at Bally’s, Caesars and Tropicana casinos in Atlantic City. The group also backs Casino Employees Against Smoking’s (Harmful) Effects, an organisation made up of over 3,000 workers from Atlantic City casinos. Members of CEASE have cancer or other smoke-related ailments despite not being actual smokers.

The plaintiffs stated that New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Pact is unconstitutional as it allegedly provides casino owners with the authority to allow smoking inside their facilities through an exception despite health risks. 

On the other hand, the UAW and CEASE are arguing that casinos should not be exempt from the ban on indoor smoking, which impacts other businesses across New Jersey. 

It comes after previously strengthened efforts from the group in Atlantic City casinos for the implementation of a smoking ban in the region’s casinos. 

Looking to build momentum in the case, the union representing dealers at casinos staged a protest when they lit up cigarettes at the State House Annex.

Amidst taking part in the protest, Daniel Vicente, Regional Director of the casino workers union, stated at the time of the protest: “We’re not allowed to smoke in your workplace, but you’re allowed to smoke in ours.

“They say it’s OK for secondhand smoke to be blown in our faces all day, every day. We wanted to know if it’s OK if we did that in their workplace. They said it was inappropriate and not allowed here.”