New York Gaming Commission employees report sexual harassment and racism

August 21, 2023
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Bullying, political favoritism and the display of inappropriate signage in the workplace have also been alleged.

The New York Gaming Commission (NYGC) has been reported as a “toxic” working environment by employees who have suffered sexual harassment, racial discrimination, bullying and other issues during their time with the Commission. The agency is responsible for regulating casinos, horseracing and the lottery within the state.

Some previous employees spoke to the Times Union about working conditions and lawsuits surrounding the commission. At least four lawsuits, including discrimination on the basis of sex, race and disability are active.

Two lawsuits related to age discrimination have also been settled within the past four years, in which $75,000 was paid, but no fault was admitted. Recently, an undisclosed sum was agreed in a settlement for alleged sexual harassment as well.

Former Associate Counsel for the Gaming Commission said, “I quickly realized this was not a normal workplace. I can never work in state service again under the same leadership.”

Descriptions ranged from “dysfunctional,” to “hostile,” to “a nightmare.” Former employee, Larry Maylock also spoke of a sign making reference to the Ku Klux Klan hanging on the wall of the commission’s headquarters for weeks in 2019.

New York’s Office of Employee Relations has received 41 complaints since December 2018. The Public Employees Federation also noted it has received reports of employees performing supervisory-level roles not receiving management-level pay.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s office released the following statement through spokesperson, Avi Small. “Gov. Hochul has made clear that there's no place for harassment and abuse in her administration, and since taking office in 2021 she has taken significant action to implement new policies, training and workplace protections that support and protect the state workforce.”

Employees have stated they’ve felt problems or reports of issues have been either ignored or insufficiently addressed. The man responsible for racist signage was suspended without pay, but eventually returned to work, and a man reported for sexual harassment had his workstation moved as a consequence.

NYGC spokesman Brad Maione said, “The commission cannot help if unnamed individuals are unsatisfied with the outcome of such investigations or actions.” He also said of lawsuits related to discrimination during promotion opportunities, that all decisions are based on, “merit, experience and expertise.”

Gaming America has reached out to the NYGC for comment.

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