Discrimination claim filed against social services agency

Jon Campisi Nov. 21, 2011, 6:46am

A woman who was laid off from her job of 12 years as a quality assurance director for a social services and community-based heath agency has filed a complaint against her former employer, alleging that her firing was related to her age, race and sex.

Philadelphia resident Denise Cutrone was hired by Philadelphia-based Intercultural Family Services, Inc. back in 1999. Her employment was terminated in March of this year, according to her complaint, which was filed Nov. 17 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by attorney Andrew S. Abramson of Blue Bell, Pa.

The only reason given for her termination, the suit claims, was that the defendant was going through a “restructuring and downsizing” period.

Cutrone, however, was the only employee fired at this time, the suit claims.

The lawsuit also claims that a man named Takahide Tanaka, formerly a quality assurance technician who worked directly under Cutrone, was appointed to take Cutrone’s place after she was fired from her position.

Tanaka, the suit claims, had “substantially” less experience than Cutrone, yet he received a significant salary raise.

Cutrone had been making about $82,000 at the time of her termination.

The civil action claims that in terminating Cutrone’s employment, the defendant engaged in discrimination related to Cutrone’s age, race and sex.

“Defendant IFS’s actions were willful and outrageous in that its motives and conduct as set forth above were malicious, wanton, reckless and oppressive,” the lawsuit states. “The actions of Defendant IFS have caused Plaintiff Cutrone considerable financial loss, emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and loss of self-esteem.”

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Civil Rights Act. The suit contains counts of both sex discrimination and race discrimination.

Cutrone demands declaratory judgment as well as damages exceeding $150,000, plus front pay, back pay, prejudgment interest, reinstatement, unspecified punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other court relief.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-07174-PD.

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