A former human resources representative at a Philadelphia gaming hall
claims in a recently filed wrongful discharge suit that she was fired from her job for retaliatory reasons relating to her earlier complaints of supervisory mistreatment, and because she raised concerns about alleged illegal activity taking place within the casino.
Attorneys with the Philadelphia-based Tucker Law Group filed suit Oct. 12 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on behalf of city resident Cynthia Medley.
SugarHouse HSP Gaming L.P. and SugarHouse Casino are listed as the defendants.
According to the complaint, Medley was fired from her job in April 2011 for raising concerns about alleged illegal and unethical activity that had been taking place at the casino.
In July 2010, Medley suffered a stroke, something she attributed to the stress she had been experiencing relating to her dealings with her direct supervisor.
The supervisor, identified in the lawsuit as Vice President of Human Resources Joann Weber, had created a hostile work environment for Medley, the lawsuit claims, which included making “harassing and degrading” comments to Medley, using profane and abusive language toward the plaintiff, and constantly threatening to terminate Medley.
The complaint alleges that the casino failed to take any action to address Medley’s report of the hostile work environment or its “ill effects on her health.”
Medley ended up having to take a month off of work while being treated for her stroke.
Between August and September 2010, in preparation for the casino’s grand opening, Weber ordered Medley to falsify information and forge signatures and notary seals on various documents, including I-9 forms and state gaming license applications, in order to expedite employees’ background checks with the Pennsylvania State Police and to expedite the receipt of employees’ gaming licenses from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board so as to not delay the planned opening of SugarHouse, the complaint alleges.
“Ms. Medley followed Ms. Weber’s orders out of fear of further retaliation, and in light of the fact that Defendants refused to take any action in light of her earlier complaints,” the lawsuit states.
Weber was fired on Sept. 24, 2010, the day after the casino’s grand opening, for unspecified reasons, the suit states.
After Weber’s firing, Medley, no longer under the threat of retaliation from her former supervisor, contacted SugarHouse officials to discuss the “illegal [and] ethical practices” Weber forced upon Medley, the suit states.
Medley was refused an initial meeting. She was later denied a second meeting request as well.
Finally, in March 2011, Medley was able to meet with SugarHouse’s chief executive officer and chief operating officer.
Medley was then instructed to meet with the casino’s attorney, the suit states, and soon after that meeting, the plaintiff was given a “bonus check,” something Medley claimed was payoff money to keep her quiet about the alleged illegal and unethical activities occurring within the casino’s walls, the complaint states.
Medley returned the check the same day.
Medley was soon informed that her employment was being suspended while the casino investigated whether Medley may have sent certain internal data or documents outside of the company, the lawsuit states.
The complaint says that Medley had the casino’s approval to work from home, and was therefore required to routinely send information home and/or to access the casino’s databases and other electronically stored information from home in the performance of her job, but at no time did Medley share any date or documents with outside individuals.
On April 14, 2011, Medley was told she was being fired from her job for violating the casino’s Electronic Technologies and Services and Confidentiality policies.
“Defendants, however, have no evidence supporting the allegation that Ms. Medley had improperly sent data or documents to anyone outside of the company,” the lawsuit states.
The complaint also alleges that prior to her departure, Medley was instructed to go through her email and delete anything relating to the company’s alleged illegal and unethical activities.
Although the defendants claimed that Medley was being terminated for cause, the suit states, Medley was offered a severance package that included payment of two months’ salary in exchange for releasing any and all potential legal claims against the casino.
Medley claims that she continues to experience stress relating to her wrongful firing.
The lawsuit contains counts of wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.
Medley seeks more than $50,000 in damages for back pay, front pay, loss of pay increases, loss of earning capacity, loss of health insurance, medical expenses, interest, punitive damages and other court relief.
The case ID number is 121001753.