Former PointsBet USA employee Caroline Weeks has filed a lawsuit accusing PointsBet of creating a hostile work environment and compensation discrimination based on sex.
Weeks accepted her role with PointsBet USA in January 2022 as senior player development manager. According to the filing, she endured sexual harassment and groping by PointsBet clients and a company superior during her time with the company.
After months of complaints, Weeks says the client-related harassment came to a head in Atlantic City. That’s when a drunken customer repeatedly tried to grope her. according to her court filing. The man proceeded to follow Weeks, stalking her throughout the casino until New Jersey police intervened.
Weeks told the New York Post she broke down that evening, feeling completely alone.
Weeks added that dealing with intoxicated men much bigger and older than you is scary.
People who don’t understand the word ‘no’ are dangerous.
Supervisor Engaged in Inappropriate Sexual Advances
Unfortunately for Weeks, bad client behavior wasn’t her only worry.
According to the suit, she was also subject to sexual advances, comments, and unwanted physical touch by a supervisor.
At the time, the documents explain, PointsBet divided its client-facing roles into Player Development and Loyalty.
Weeks worked on the player development side under Nick Wellner.
However, because player development and loyalty work closely together, she also dealt regularly with Bart DiNardo, the loyalty team manager.
According to the filing, DiNardo was known for drinking, “getting handsy,” and directing inappropriate comments to Weeks during PointsBet events.
After their first meeting, the suit claims that DiNardo, who was drinking excessively, asked Weeks to visit a strip club with himself and his friends.
Weeks says she declined the invitation.
Soon after, at another event, a “belligerently drunk” DiNardo allegedly flirted “aggressively” with Weeks and touched her in a “suggestive and inappropriate” manner.
According to the lawsuit, DiNardo’s behavior was enough of a problem that Wellner, Weeks’ direct manager, sat between her and DiNardo at dinner.
Weeks says Wellner apologized for DiNardo’s behavior after sending him home in a cab. However, as far as she is aware, DiNardo received no warnings or reprimands from the company at the time.
As a result, things allegedly escalated further in August when DiNardo began messaging Weeks on her personal Snapchat account. When he didn’t get the response he wanted, the filing says he switched to texting Weeks at her personal number.
Despite being “incredibly offended and uncomfortable,” Weeks tried to “keep the conversation light” because DiNardo was a supervisor, and she feared “ramifications,” the lawsuit explains.
Although PointsBet eventually terminated DiNardo, the suit claims that the company is still liable for his conduct. The complaint states that PoinstBet was aware of Dinardo’s behavior for months yet took no action until Weeks provided incriminating text messages.
Clients Subject Weeks to On-The-Job Harassment
In addition to DiNardo’s harassment, the lawsuit details the ongoing sexual harassment Weeks faced from PointsBet clients, current and prospective.
Many of those customers were more than 20 years older than Weeks, who is now 25.
The complaint describes it as “egregious” that a lack of consequences at PointsBet events enabled an environment where “male clients felt free to touch and kiss Ms. Weeks without her consent.”
According to the filing, male clients would regularly ask Weeks for a photo only to kiss or touch her (without consent) while taking the picture.
The document goes on to highlight some of the comments Weeks would receive:
- “You look hot.”
- “You got this job because you’re hot.”
- “I bet you get this all the time.”
- “You’re very attractive.”
- “I’d love to get dinner sometime.”
In front of at least one other PointsBet employee at one event, one client declared:
If I get the ball in the hole, Caroline gives me a blowjob.
The client got a laugh, the filing said. And as far as Weeks knows, the customer’s behavior garnered no repercussions.
This tacit approval, claims the suit, was the same for nearly all the harassment Weeks faced.
The clients who sexually harassed Ms. Weeks faced no consequences and were free to continue their harassment.
Weeks, on the other hand, was mortified. PointsBet was her place of employment, yet she had no protection from the “barrage of sexual harassment.”
Further, according to the suit, because PointsBet failed to provide a work phone, Weeks had to share her personal cell number with the same clients who harassed her.
Even after her employment with PointsBet ended, Weeks received propositions from past clients via text.
PointsBet’s Failure to Protect Forced Resignation
After the incident in Atlantic City involving police, Weeks filed a verbal complaint about the ongoing harassment she faced from both clients and DiNardo.
PointsBet eventually fired DiNardo, according to the filing. However, the company told Weeks it could do little about the clients. That message, the lawsuit suggests, ignored the company’s legal obligations to protect its employees.
As a result of PointsBet’s inability to protect Weeks from harassment at work, she no longer felt able to continue in a client-facing role.
In September 2022, Weeks requested a transfer to another position. However, the only job offered amounted to a demotion in her title and less than half her salary.
Weeks already found months prior that she was being paid substantially less for the same work as the other team members—all men. (Weeks’ was hired at $60,000 annually. Team members with similar work experience reportedly made as much as $100,000.)
Pointsbet, claim the documents:
Engaged in patterns, practices, and/or policies of employment which discriminate against Ms. Weeks on the basis of her sex by paying Ms. Weeks a lesser rate of pay than to male employees performing the same job duties which require equal skill, effort and responsibility under the same working conditions.
In the end, PointsBet refused to take remedial actions to make their events safe or transfer Weeks to a comparable position, says the filing. The lack of action forced Weeks to give notice.
From the filing:
Thus, in October 2022, after nearly a year of enduring harassment by a supervisor and PointsBet clients, including unwanted physical touching, forced kisses, and graphic sexualized language about her body and sex, Ms. Weeks was forced to resign.
With the lawsuit, Weeks asks for a declaratory judgment that PointsBet’s actions, conduct, and practices violate US and New York law.
Additionally, Weeks’ legal team seeks a variety of monetary damages, including:
- Back pay, front pay, and pay differential
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
- Liquidated damages
- Costs incurred
- Any further relief deemed just and proper by the court.
Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer, severe mental anguish and emotional distress, including, but not limited to, social anxiety, humiliation, sleep paralysis, embarrassment, stress, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as emotional pain and suffering, for this she is entitled to an award of monetary damages and other relief.
Notably, Weeks’ suit notes an intention to amend the complaint to include allegations against Fanatics as a successor-in-interest to PointsBet USA. As yet, however, that has not seemed to happen.
Fanatics acquired PointsBet USA in a deal worth $225 million this summer after PointsBet shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale.