Neva Pryor Sues NJ Council for Racial Discrimination

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Attorneys representing the Council of Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey are seeking to dismiss a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Neva Pryor, a former executive director of the organization. Pryor, an African American, alleges that she was met with racist remarks and suffered unjust treatment at the hands of the non-profit’s president, Fred Hogan.

The contentious legal dispute began after the Hamilton, New Jersey-based council chose not to renew Pryor’s contract. Pryor submits that her departure was a direct consequence of her complaint about racial discrimination purportedly administered by Hogan. She posits that after Hogan assumed the presidency in 2016, he commenced a pattern of treating her with rudeness and condescension, which she asserts was not mirrored in his interactions with Caucasian colleagues.

The lawsuit hinges significantly on an incident at the CCG Christmas party on December 11, 2018. Pryor alleges that, after she had politely requested Hogan to move aside, he retaliated with a racially charged comment, “Don’t let me get Black with you.” Pryor claims that she was left aghast by the remark and promptly reported the incident to the organization’s Human Resources manager. Despite her immediate action, she claims the CCG neglected to undertake an appropriate investigation.

In the months that ensued, Pryor maintains that Hogan’s discriminatory behavior towards her escalated, manifesting in excessive oversight and inappropriate meddling in her daily tasks. A notable aspect of her grievances includes a directive from Hogan preventing her from contacting board members, an act which stood in direct conflict with her job responsibilities.

When Pryor formally lodged her complaint of racial discrimination with the board’s vice president on February 15, 2021, her employment was terminated some five months later. In an unexpected twist, however, as the CCG delved into Pryor’s allegations, the organization unearthed evidence pointing to purported misconduct by Pryor herself. The CCG alleges that Pryor exhibited conduct that was considered bullying and inappropriate, including using abusive language toward employees and derogatory terms in reference to a now-retired employee.

Leading up to the termination of her employment, Pryor purportedly received several pay increases and positive performance evaluations. The CCG’s lawyers insist that the alleged discriminatory treatment had no bearing on Pryor’s employment and that the isolated incident of purported racial commentary by Hogan does not satisfy the legal standard for a workplace rendered hostile or abusive.

With the case under deliberation, a judicial ruling is poised to materialize in the forthcoming weeks.

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