Former Home Depot manager files wrongful termination claim

Jon Campisi Nov. 1, 2011, 12:43pm

The former manager of a suburban Pennsylvania Home Depot store has filed a federal lawsuit against the retail corporation, alleging she was terminated from her position because of her sex, and not because of the supposed “leadership problems,” as was claimed by higher-ups as the basis for her firing.

Penndel, Pa. attorneys Timothy M. Kolman, Wayne A. Ely, Eman Abouelseoud and Lalena J. Turchi, of the firm Kolman Ely, P.C., filed the job discrimination complaint Oct. 28 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Lyndell, Pa. resident Denise Martinozzi.

The defendant named in the civil action is Atlanta, GA-based Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.

In her lawsuit, Martinozzi, who worked at the Home Depot in Glen Mills, Pa. from April 1999 until June 1, 2010, alleges she was fired from her position as store manager because the district manager, identified as Erich Schulz, viewed her as a leadership failure.

Soon after getting hired as district manager, Schulz told Martinozzi that there were “too many female store managers in this district,” according to the lawsuit.

Schulz refused to give Martinozzi the requested assistant store managers that she needed in order for managerial tasks to be delegated and properly performed, the suit states.

“Plaintiff requested the designated number of Store Managers on a regular basis but Schulz deliberately refused to give them to Plaintiff,” the lawsuit claims. “This was done deliberately to make Plaintiff fail, and thereby create a pretextual record which Schulz could use to discharge Plaintiff.”

The complaint goes on to state that on the same day that Martinozzi was terminated, Schulz suddenly staffed the store fully with the required number of assistant store managers for the first time.

“Plaintiff was terminated for ‘leadership problems’ which was the only subjective and improper criteria Schulz could use to fire Plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint states that Martinozzi had filed a discrimination charge against her company with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late July 2010, a charge that was cross-filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of gender discrimination, and seeks judgment in the form of compensatory, actual and punitive damages, as well as declaratory judgment and other equitable and legal relief.

Martinozzi is seeking a jury trial.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06788-TON.

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