Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tucson Dog Track Executive Accused of Deterring Employee from Reporting Abuse

The Empty Concession Area of Tucson Greyhound Park
Regardless of how you feel about greyhound racing, we should all agree that employees have the right to work in a safe environment. A state record we just received from the Arizona Department of Racing, however, suggests that this right may not be recognized at Tucson Greyhound Park.

In July, an assistant greyhound trainer at the track named Michael Yelton was fined $100 and had his license suspended for five days for "acting in a abusive or threatening manner towards another licensee." Specifically, a witness statement describes an incident in which Yelton verbally abused another track worker and threatened her with physical violence. According to the statement, Yelton called her several deeply offensive and derogatory names, screamed at her, and threatened to strike her:
"He flip out and screaming at me to learn how to do my job and I told him not to tell me how to do my job ... Then he got in my face and threaten to hit me with his fist."
The witness further claims that she attempted to file a complaint regarding this incident, but was deterred by track security at the direction of Tucson Greyhound Park Tom Taylor:
"I went to security to get the write up paper when they told me that Tom Taylor told them not to write a report for them to leave Michael Yelton alone."
Even though Yelton was fined and suspended for his part in this incident, we see no evidence that this information was shared with state or federal authorities as a possible labor law violation. We are deeply troubled by the accusation that an employee was deterred from reporting a threat of violence, and have forwarded these documents to the Industrial Commission of Arizona.

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