Worker sues bosses over alleged discrimination based on his disability

Dan Harkins Jun. 24, 2015, 10:30am


A longtime worker for a Bethlehem power company is suing his former bosses for alleged disability discrimination and assault.

Thomas and Susan Gallagher filed a complaint on May 29 in Cook County Circuit Court against PPL Electric Utilities Corp. and Lynn Wassel.

Thomas Gallagher, of East Stroudsburg, filed on Oct. 2, 2013, a disability discrimination, harassment and retaliation charge against his employer and supervisor, the defendants, with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A year passed, the lawsuit states, before he was finally given a "right to sue" letter from the EEOC.

Gallagher worked for the company since 1981 and until recently was employed there as an electrician leader/field services worker, the lawsuit states.

Over the past half-dozen years, the lawsuit states, Gallagher has suffered a number of allegedly retaliatory acts, including an alleged assault perpetrated by a fellow employee.

From Nov. 13, 2012, to the present, the lawsuit states, "the defendant continues to discriminate against him on the basis of his disability (anxiety, depression and PTSD), its perception of a disability, and retaliation, which unlawful discriminatory practices are of a continuing nature."

The plaintiffs, citing assault, battery, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, seeks back pay, reinstatement and front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and court costs. His wife, citing loss of consortium, seeks damages in excess of $100,000, plus costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney John S. Harrison of Broughal and DeVito LLP in Bethlehem.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 5:15-cv-02992-JLS.

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