Loose lips can result in litigation

In virtually every industry, disclosing confidential information is a no-no.

Workers typically receive human resources handbooks laying out companies’ privacy policies, and managers regularly sign non-compete and confidentiality agreements.

Still, disputes occasionally erupt when employees leave to work for a competitor.

In gaming, the disputes have involved lists of high rollers and slot machine makers’ knowledge of casinos’ purchasing decisions.

Avoiding issues is easy. Simply comply with the contracts you sign and work ethically, Cosmopolitan COO Tom McCartney said.

“As we advance in our careers, we gain knowledge,” he said. “That knowledge should be part of the whole puzzle of who you are as an individual. But the assets of a property should stay with the property. If there’s a contract, that’s something that any company I have worked for or have left has respected. Never have I seen an incident where that was attempted to be compromised.”

Gaming executives, of course, talk among themselves but are careful not to disclose confidential information, McCartney said.

“In a community the size of ours, you will meet people from a variety of properties. While we may share life experiences that are common or public knowledge, you have to have the integrity of who you are and your self worth to not go beyond that,” he said.

Local high-profile lawsuits over confidentiality and noncompete issues have involved:

• Pinnacle Entertainment, which in 2010 sued former CEO Dan Lee alleging he used confidential information and recruited Pinnacle employees for a Louisiana casino. Pinnacle lost the suit.

• Cantor Gaming, which last year sued former executive Joseph Asher alleging he breached non-compete and confidentiality obligations. Asher denies the claims and now runs competing sports book operator William Hill’s Nevada operations. The suit remains open.

• The jointly-managed Chateau and Gallery nightclubs at Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood last year sued the Tropicana alleging three executives violated non-compete agreements by going to work for a Tropicana nightclub. The clubs also sued an entertainment director who went to work for 1OAK at the Mirage. The suit remains open.

• The Palms in July sued a former casino host over claims she misappropriated contact information for hundreds of high rollers. The case remains open.

• Las Vegas casino supplier Gaming Partners International last month sued former sales executive Justin Woodard charging he misappropriated company information. Woodard in turn sued GPI, claiming it failed to pay him commissions and severance and charging that he was defamed by the company CEO. Both cases remain open.