Former security guard sues Parx Casino for wrongful termination

Jon Campisi Dec. 20, 2011, 8:36am

A woman who worked security for Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pa. for a mere three months before she was terminated for reasons she contends were related to her physical disabilities has filed a complaint against her former employer in federal court.

Bensalem attorney Ari Karpf filed the civil action Dec. 16 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Jodi Hammel, who also resides in Bensalem.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, the parent company of Parx Casino, which is located at 3001 Street Road in Lower Bucks County.

In her lawsuit, Hammel, who suffers from physical ailments including degenerative disc disease and other back problems, claims her employer fired her from her casino security job in March of this year “because of her actual or perceived health conditions and/or her requests for accommodations.”

During her employment, the suit states, Hammel had informed her bosses of her physical problems, and at one point requested she be placed on light work duty to accommodate her conditions.

Hammel was placed on light duty for a period of about five or six weeks, but was then told the accommodations were no longer available to her, the complaint alleges.

At this point, supervisors also made “insensitive and discriminatory comments” about Hammel’s work abilities and back problems, the suit claims.

On March 20, Hammel was treated at a local hospital for health issues related to her back problems. She relayed this information to her bosses and informed them she’d be returning to work after a few days out on leave, according to the complaint.

It was during this conversation that supervisors asked Hammel if she had been prescribed any narcotics. The question was asked in a “derogatory manner,” the lawsuit claims.

Two days later, “in very close proximity to Plaintiff’s hospitalization for her health conditions,” Hammel was fired from her job, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that Hammel’s employment termination was a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The complaint accuses the defendant of actual and perceived disability discrimination, failure to accommodate and wrongful termination.

Hammel seeks lost and future earnings, unspecified punitive damages, litigation costs, damages for pain and suffering and other legal and equitable relief.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-07698-MMB.

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