Bowling alley-gations | Embattled bowling alley giant sued by exec who said firm attempted extortion

Embattled bowling alley giant sued by exec who said firm attempted extortion

The world's largest bowling center operator, Bowlero has found itself entangled in a web of allegations ranging from age discrimination to attempted extortion against a former executive.

Thomas Tanase, the former Chief Information Officer at Bowlero, has petitioned a Virginia federal court to permit him to countersue his ex-employer for extortion and retaliation, claiming he was threatened with FBI involvement if he didn't admit to divulging company secrets.

The tumultuous series of events began when Tanase and several others filed discrimination claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging age-based termination or retaliation.

Bowlero, which owns and operates brands such as AMF and Lucky Strike, vehemently denied these accusations.

Tanase's ascent within Bowlero, from the information technology department to the C-suite, was abruptly halted when he was allegedly ousted from his position in May, purportedly due to his age.

Allegations of hacking into the CEO's email account and mishandling company documents ensued, with Tanase denying any wrongdoing.

However, the plot thickened when Tanase revealed a recorded conversation between himself and Bowlero's Executive Vice Chairman, Brett Parker.

In the transcript, Parker allegedly pressured Tanase to confess to accessing confidential emails and divulging information to external parties.

Parker's remarks, captured in the transcript, hinted at a potential resolution involving financial compensation if Tanase cooperated.

Tanase contends that Bowlero's lawsuit against him was retaliatory, aimed at dissuading him from pursuing legal action or assisting the EEOC investigation into the company's alleged discriminatory practices.

Seeking redress, Tanase's proposed countersuit demands substantial damages from Bowlero for extortion and retaliation.

Bowlero denies Tanase's claims of extortion, characterizing their actions as an attempt to extend an "olive branch" to him amidst the hacking allegations.

The dispute between Tanase and Bowlero unfolds against the backdrop of a broader EEOC investigation involving over 70 former employees, echoing claims of discriminatory practices within the company.

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Despite Bowlero's dismissal of these allegations as meritless, the EEOC's finding of reasonable cause in many complaints underscores the gravity of the situation.

As the legal battle intensifies, the veracity of Tanase's accusations and Bowlero's defense strategies will be scrutinized in the courtroom.

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