Parx Casino and employee face sexual harassment claim by fired security officer
A former security officer at a suburban Philadelphia casino is suing the gaming hall and one of its employees amid claims that the plaintiff suffered a barrage of sexual harassment at the hands of the male defendant. Philadelphia attorney David M. Koller filed suit Nov. 2 at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia against Greenwood Gaming Services, which operates Parx Casino in Lower Bucks County. Also named as a defendant is Jason Eddings, one of the casino’s employees. The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff, Bensalem, Pa. resident Maria Kuptsova, who began working for the casino as a security officer in August 2009, was near constantly harassed by Eddings, who was her direct supervisor. The alleged harassment came in the form of Eddings making unwanted sexual advances toward Kuptsova, telling other coworkers to look at the plaintiff’s breasts, asking the woman to take a picture of her breasts and provide it to Eddings, touching the plaintiff’s buttocks, and pushing his crotch against the woman, the suit claims. “Upon information and belief, Defendant Greenwood Gaming took no action to stop Defendant Eddings from sexually harassing Plaintiff,” the lawsuit states. In late February 2011, the suit states, Kuptsova returned to work after a brief leave following knee surgery. Upon the plaintiff’s return, Eddings wrote-up the plaintiff for poor attendance and excessive tardiness, the complaint says, and the woman began to grow concerned about the safety of her job following the disciplinary actions taken by Eddings. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2011, Eddings asked the plaintiff if she was still interested in a management position with the casino. When Kuptsova said she was interested in advancement, Eddings asked the plaintiff to show him her breasts, the complaint alleges. The woman again rejected the unwanted sexual advances, the suit states. In early June 2011, Kuptsova was at the casino celebrating her birthday with coworkers and friends, and although she didn’t invite Eddings, the defendant nonetheless showed up and made unwanted sexual comments to the plaintiff, according to the complaint. A couple of weeks after the birthday gathering, Kuptsova was called upon to give a statement to investigators regarding a sexual harassment complaint made by another Parx Casino employee. Soon after giving her statement to investigators, Eddings pulled the plaintiff aside and demanded she tell him everything she relayed to the investigators, the suit claims. Later that day, Eddings suspended the plaintiff. When Kuptsova eventually called the company to inquire about her employment, she was told she had been terminated for failure to return to work. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Kuptsova seeks unspecified compensatory, punitive and liquidated damages, damages for emotional pain and suffering, attorney’s fees, and pre-and-post-judgment interest. The plaintiff also seeks an injunction enjoining the defendants from engaging in discriminatory behavior. Kuptsova seeks a jury trial. The federal case number is 2:12-cv-06208-RK.