Ocean Casino Resort settles Wrongful Termination Case with Lead Whistleblower

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Posted on: Mar 18, 2022 02:27 am.

Last updated on: March 18, 2022 02:58 am.

Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort has reached a settlement with a former general counsel and senior vice president who claimed she was illegally fired for whistleblowing.

Loretta Pickus
Loretta Pickus, above, claimed that Ocean Casino Resort‘s treatment violated New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).

Loretta Pickus sued the casino and its owner, Luxor Capital Group, in 2020. She claimed her employment was wrongfully terminated after she objected to casino management reporting inaccurate information to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) submitted.

Pickus argued it was a direct violation of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). CEPA protects employees from retaliation from employers for denouncing a company activity, policy or practice that they reasonably believe violates the law. Forms of retaliation include termination, demotion, or passing on for a promotion.

In a statement to Casino.org In September 2020, Pickus’ attorney, Kathryn McClure, said the decision to fire Pickus was due to retaliation “fueled by gender discrimination.” This had caused her client economic and emotional damage and damaged her professional reputation.

But the case will not go to court. In a filing Tuesday with the New Jersey Supreme Court, Ocean’s attorney Elizabeth Lorell said the two parties are “currently ironing out the full terms of the settlement.”

Hire and fire

According to court documents, Pickus was fired four days after she complained about Ocean Casino’s audit committee filing false minutes with the state gaming authority.

The July 2019 meeting discussed the hiring of a new monitoring director, Mark Evans, who was later demoted for “alleged shortcomings,” according to the lawsuit.

But committee member Fred DeVesa wanted the discussion of Evans’ hiring and demotion, and whether the role was permanent or temporary, removed from the record. That way, Ocean would be held less liable.

Pickus later complained to then-CEO Terry Glebocki and to DGE.

“The company told Pickus that the substance of her complaints and objections was allegedly not in dispute, but that the company was terminating her employment because she should have been ‘softer’ and ‘less harsh’ in submitting the statements to the Audit Committee. ‘ was the complaint.

called Rebuck

Pickus’ complaint sparked an investigation by the DGE. But she claimed that regulator director David Rebuck accepted DeVesa’s version of events — that Evans was only hired temporarily — because he was a “personal friend” of DeVesa.

She also claimed that Rebuck ordered Ocean and Luxor officials to fire her.

“There are people you shouldn’t have in your organization. They are leftovers. You have to go,” Rebuck allegedly told officers. “Call me later as I don’t want to name her here.”

A veteran of the Atlantic City gaming industry, Pickus worked for the casino in its previous incarnation, Revel. She was the only remaining member of the previous management team.

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