Former Caesars VP Sues Casino Company, Claiming Sexual Misconduct Was Ignored
Posted on: July 22, 2019, 05:00h.
Last updated on: July 22, 2019, 08:01h.
Jocelyn Agnellini Allison, previously a regional vice president for marketing for Caesars Entertainment Corp. in New Jersey, is suing her former employer and Caesars Enterprise Services.
Allison claims that she was discriminated against because she’s a woman, that she was retaliated against for calling attention to a romantic encounter between a high-ranking male executive and a subordinate, and that the gaming company created a hostile work environment.
Her suit was filed in federal district court of New Jersey. The plaintiff, a Caesars employee for 21 years until her firing in February, is seeking compensatory, economic and punitive damages as well as court costs and legal fees, but court documents do not specify the exact dollar amount she’s seeking.
Allison’s direct superiors at Caesars were Regional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Joseph Schatz and Regional President Kevin Ortzman.
In Atlantic City, New Jersey’s casino gambling center, Caesars owns three gaming properties – its namesake venue, Bally’s Atlantic City and Harrah’s.
Problems Started In 2017
According to the suit, the beginning of the end for Agnellini Allison at Caesars started in May 2017. That’s when Allison received two reports of Ortzman making out with a female subordinate following a work function and that other employees felt uncomfortable witnessing that encounter.
Allison made a complaint to Caesars regarding Ortzman’s “unlawful sexual act” and when Ortzman got wind of the complaint, he promised “there would be hell to pay” for whomever ratted him out, according to the suit.
She subsequently reported Ortzman’s threat to higher ups at Caesars, but court documents indicate the former employee believes the “defendants failed to take corrective and remedial action.”
From late May 2017 onward, Allison’s status at Caesars rapidly deteriorated. The plaintiff alleges her superiors at Caesars subsequently diminished and ignored her, intentionally excluded her from emails and staff meetings relevant to her role at the company and bypassed her to issue work requests to her subordinates that should have been her wheelhouse.
Allison’s suit claims that she was treated in a “hostile and dismissive manner” and that the defendants believed her role at the gaming company was non-essential and should be eliminated.
After her May 2017 complaints about Ortzman’s alleged make-out session with the female staffer, Allison was left off executive team thank-you emails, experienced canceled one-on-one meetings with higher ranking executives, and said she did not receive holiday gifts.
Fighting For Women
Her claim against her former employer also maintains that Caesars does not have an adequate number of female staffers, particularly in higher-ranking roles. The suit additionally says another staffer that complained about Ortzman’s 2017 encounter with the female subordinate was also terminated in February.
The plaintiff asserts Caesars upper management either participated in or was indifferent to violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). Caesars has until July 26 to respond to the suit.
The casino operator is currently the target of a $17.3 billion takeover by rival Eldorado Resorts, Inc.
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