A Belle Vernon woman filed a lawsuit in federal court against her former employer, The Meadows Casino, alleging she was fired from her job because she’s black.
Karen Baughman, through her attorney Samuel J. Cordes, filed the lawsuit, naming Pinnacle Entertainment, doing business as The Meadows Casino, as the defendant.
Baughman was hired at the Meadows Casino in May 2007 with her last position at the casino as the director of security.
Cordes writes in the complaint that during Baughman’s employment, she performed her job duties in a manner fully acceptable to the casino. She received positive performance evaluations, including being recognized and financially compensated as a key leader for the company as recent as April 2017, according to the suit.
However, the lawsuit states that the company allegedly excluded Baughman from meetings where pertinent information regarding her position was discussed, and she was provided that information through a young, white subordinate.
Cordes adds that during her last year of employment in 2017, Baughman’s managers and co-workers allegedly repeatedly made offensive racial comments toward and about Baughman.
In early August 2017, the company gave Baughman a letter stating that there’s “concerns” about her leadership brought to the company’s attention, but Cordes said those concerns were made by the same employees and managers who had objected working with a black person and made those disparaging remarks.
“With nothing more than that, Defendant told Baughman that if she did not resign, it would conduct an investigation, find a reason to fire her and then fire her,” Cordes writes, adding that the casino normally interviews an employee so they can answer to allegations before discipline was administered.
Baughman was allegedly fired for no given reason after she refused to resign in August 2017.
Baughman, who received a right-to-sue notice on June 29 from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is seeking to be employed in the position from which she was fired, compensation for wages and benefits from the time she was fired, compensatory damages and legal fees.