Fired healthcare services account manager sues for racial discrimination

Jon Campisi Feb. 9, 2012, 12:15pm

A former account manager at a business that provides healthcare services to nursing facilities has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Bensalem, Pa.-based company, alleging his firing after 13-years of employment was retaliatory in nature.

Philadelphia attorney Albert J. Michell filed the job discrimination complaint Feb. 7 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Philadelphia resident Kenneth Williams.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is Healthcare Services Group, Inc., headquartered in Bucks County, Pa.

In his complaint, Williams, who was hired by the defendant as an account manager in July 1996, claims he was fired in late July 2009 for reasons related to his race.

Williams, who is African American, claims that during his employment, he was continuously demoted and replaced by younger white males.

One example given in the complaint was the 1999 demotion from account manager to assistant account manager; the move came with an accompanying pay cut from $31,000 to $24,000 annually.

Williams’ lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff didn’t experience any problems with the company until around February 2008, at which time he took a three-week vacation.

When he returned from the vacation, Williams was informed that the facility he was in charge of, the Lakewood of Voorhees Nursing Facility in New Jersey, was not clean, the lawsuit claims.

Shortly thereafter, Williams was demoted, removed as account manager at the facility and transferred to a smaller facility.

Williams’ district manager, identified in the lawsuit as Scott McKinsey, allegedly told the plaintiff if he didn’t like the transfer, “he could quit,” according to the complaint.

“Mr. McKinsey’s assertions of uncleanliness were untrue and Plaintiff was not issued a written reprimand for work performance nor violations of policies or procedures at this time,” the lawsuit states.

In late February 2009, Williams was again transferred to another, smaller nursing facility in suburban Philadelphia, during which he experienced a near $10,000 annual pay cut, the suit claims. He was replaced in his old position, the account manager job at the New Jersey facility, by a younger, white male.

Then, in early March 2009, Williams discovered discrepancies in his paycheck, the lawsuit alleges. He contacted McKinsey about the issue, at which time it was suggested that Williams apply for a job at another company, according to the complaint.

In early May, Williams took medical leave for thumb surgery, the suit states. During this time, McKinsey allegedly toured the new facility for which Williams was in charge and declared the building dirty and unfit.

McKinsey then proceeded to write up Williams based on the “untrue allegations,” according to the lawsuit.

Inspectors with the Pennsylvania Department of Health toured the facility in early July 2008 during which Williams’ housekeeping and laundry departments passed inspection with no deficiencies, according to the complaint.

Nevertheless, Williams was fired from his job on July 30, 2009.

The defendant replaced Williams with a white man in his late 20s who had been with the company for a mere four years, the suit states.

“Defendant treated Plaintiff differently from other employees in Plaintiff’s position on the basis of his race and age, to his detriment,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff was subjected to adverse employment decisions by Defendant on the basis of his race and age, and not because of any legitimate business reason.”

Williams accuses the defendant of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, as well as the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.

Williams seeks back pay, interest, liquidated damages, attorney’s fees and other legal and equitable relief.

A jury trial is being demanded.

The federal case number is 2:12-cv-00643-AB.

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