A fired court worker in suburban Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer over allegations that her job was terminated for retaliatory reasons due to the fact that the plaintiff had previously taken a leave of absence due to her medical conditions.
Stacy Amoroso, who resides in Bristol, Pa., and worked for the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas as a domestic relations officer from March 2004 until May 2011, claims in her civil action that she was fired that spring for reasons relating to her medical leave.
From April 2010 to October of that year, Amoroso took leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act due to her diagnosed depression and anxiety, according to her lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 7 at the U.S. District Court by Penndel, Pa. attorney Timothy M. Kolman.
The suit claims that upon her return to work, Amoroso was “scrutinized and regularly and unnecessarily” subjected to “unwarranted criticism and discipline,” with the defendants engaging in a “pattern of antagonism against Plaintiff beginning before her return from leave and culminating with her termination.”
Named as defendants in the litigation are Bucks County, the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, Frank Filipovits, who is listed as a hearing officer for the Bucks County Domestic Relations Division, and Laura LoBianco, who is identified as the director of the Domestic Relations Division.
The suit claims that Filipovits, who became a supervisor in the Domestic Relations Division of the court system in December 2010, was instrumental in “deliberately discriminating and retaliating against Plaintiff after he was promoted into a supervisory position that allowed him to do so.”
The complaint further alleges that Filipovits used his position to retaliate against Amoroso because in February 2008, the plaintiff had lodged sexual harassment accusations against Filipovits.
At that time, the suit claims, LoBianco threatened to terminate Amoroso if she continued to speak out about the sexual harassment incident.
Following the earlier sexual harassment complaint, the lawsuit states, LoBianco had subjected Amoroso to regular retaliation and disparate treatment and disciplined her for supposedly “routine” matters.
The complaint alleges that Amoroso’s eventual termination, in May 2011, was actually based on “false and pretextual ‘performance problems’ and was the culmination of a pattern of retaliation that began when Plaintiff took medical leave and intensified when Defendant Filipovits became a supervisor.”
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
The complaint also contains counts of civil rights violations, harassment and discrimination claims, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and violations of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Amoroso seeks to have the court permanently enjoin the defendants from discriminating against employees.
The plaintiff also seeks unspecified compensatory, actual and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees and other court costs.
The federal case number is 2:13-cv-00689-JHS.