The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) serves as one of the go-to and most-trusted sources when it comes to responsible and problem gambling resources in the Garden State.
Now, though, the organization faces a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by its former executive director.
Neva Pryor, a Black woman, has sued the NJ responsible gambling nonprofit in April 2022, claiming that the CCGNJ did not renew her contract as a response to her submitting a race discrimination complaint against the organization’s president, Fred Hogan.
Attorneys for the CCGNJ have since requested a judge throw out the racial discrimination lawsuit. A ruling is expected to come down within the next few weeks.
What former CCGNJ executive director claims in lawsuit
Hogan, who is white, became president of the CCGNJ in 2016. Shortly after, according to her April 2022 complaint, Pryor said he starting speaking to her in a “rude and condescending manner.” Pryor claimed Hogan did not talk to white employees in such a way.
Specifically, in December 2018 during a CCGNJ holiday party, Pryor said she passed by Hogan to greet someone else, politely asking him to excuse her as she went by. According to Pryor, Hogan said: “Don’t let me get Black with you.”
Pryor – “shocked by the racist comment,” according to the complaint – promptly reported the incident with Human Resources. According to her lawsuit, however, the CCGNJ did not investigate further.
Following this, according to Pryor, Hogan’s “discriminatory conduct towards Plaintiff intensified.” That included heightened micromanagement and inappropriate involvement in day-to-day work. In addition, Pryor said, Hogan did not allow her to communicate with other members of the CCGNJ board.
Then, in February 2021, Pryor – who boasts a background in mental health and addiction, particularly with problem gambling – submitted another racial discrimination complaint, this time with the board’s vice president. Five months later, the CCGNJ terminated her employment.
How NJ problem gambling nonprofit responded
Last week, attorneys for the CCGNJ filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to have Pryor’s lawsuit dismissed. The nonprofit’s lawyers said the CCGNJ had indeed investigated the February 2021 complaint. In doing so, the organization uncovered alleged improper conduct relating to Pryor.
According to the CCGNJ, Pryor had bullied others, including coworkers, allegedly using abusive language.
The investigation determined she “engaged in a myriad of improper/inappropriate conduct,” including “breaching ethics” and “engaging in conduct unbecoming by using inappropriate language, vulgar expressions and name calling.” In addition, Pryor exhibited “inadequate leadership during wellness meetings.”
During a CCGNJ subcommittee meeting to discuss the results of the investigation, according to the CCGNJ, Pryor admitted to the alleged conduct. She also did so during a deposition relating to her lawsuit.
Filing says Pryor did not suffer ‘adverse employment actions’
Lawyers for the CCGNJ – which is a reliable and trustworthy resource for those who suffer problem gambling as it relates to online casinos in New Jersey and NJ sports betting – claimed that Pryor did not suffer any “adverse employment actions” stemming from her alleged discriminatory treatment. Rather, Pryor actually received “several raises and positive performance reviews.”
Directly addressing Pryor’s claim of racial discrimination, CCGNJ attorneys said how she was treated was “not race-based conduct.”
“Further, even if one were to assume that Hogan made one race-based comment to Pryor in December 2018, this is clearly insufficient to constitute behavior so severe/pervasive as to alter the conditions of employment or render the working environment hostile or abusive.”
Prior to joining the CCGNJ, Hogan served as an investigator for the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender. It was Hogan who discovered evidence that led to the murder conviction of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter being overturned in 1985.