BUSINESS
10/01/2012 04:59 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2012

Catherine Zulfer, Ex-Playboy Exec, Claims She Was Fired For Reporting CEO's Embezzlement Scheme

Apparently playboys don’t like it when the whistle gets blown.

Catherine A. Zulfer, ex-senior vice president and corporate controller for Playboy, alleges in a new lawsuit that the company's CEO Scott Flanders and Chief Financial Officer Christoph Placher hatched a $1 million embezzlement scheme. Zulfer claims that she was first told to accrue $1 million in executive bonuses without approval from the board, then laid off as punishment for reporting the request. She claims that Playboy is in violation of California’s whistleblower statute, among other transgressions.

Zulfer additionally alleges that Playboy may have laid her off in part because of a policy of getting rid of workers who have been at the company for more than 10 years. Zulfer had been working at Playboy for around 30 years.

This isn’t the first time Playboy has been in hot water over how it runs its business. In 2010, a shareholder sued founder Hugh Hefner on the grounds that he had purposefully sabotaged acquisition deals to continue leading a decadent lifestyle, according to TMZ.

Wrongful termination and gender bias have also come up in the past. A party planner sued the company in 2010, alleging she was terminated because she took medical leave to recover from surgery, Findlaw.com reports.

Perhaps more strange was a class action lawsuit filed by several male guests of a Playboy party who alleged gender discrimination because they were charged about $1,000 for tickets to the third annual "White Party at the Playboy Mansion" in May 2009, while female guests often paid less or nothing at all, LA Weekly reports.

(Hat tip: Law360)

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