A former pharmacy technician has filed a federal lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, claiming that he was terminated from his position based upon his gender.
Devin Aponte, of Philadelphia, worked at the Philadelphia Pharmacy located on Lehigh Ave., where he claims that his managers treated him differently from the female employees. He seeks damages from the civil rights violation in the form of back pay, future earnings, punitive damages and court costs.
According to the complaint, Aponte began working for the Philadelphia Pharmacy in February 2013, where he worked directly beneath two female managers, who reported to the store's owners, Wilson Pagan and Richard Ost. He was told by the owners to seek assistance from one of his managers, Rosa Martinez, regarding the use of the computer system to input data; however, the claim says, Martinez did not make herself available.
Two months after starting, Aponte was reprimanded for improperly handling a drug prescription. Five days later, Pennsylvania State Police approached Aponte at the pharmacy and took him into questioning over allegations that he had stolen controlled medicine.
According to the court documents, the troopers told Aponte and another male employee that they were being questioned because they were the last two hires at the pharmacy. In fact, the complaint says, a woman was hired a few days after Aponte, but she was never questioned.
After he left the police station, Aponte called his employers and found out he had been suspended for three days, after which he attended a meeting that ended with his termination. His managers gave Aponte two reasons for the firing: using profanity in front of customers and leaving his work area unattended.
The plaintiff says he has never been disciplined for these actions prior to the termination. He also states that other, female employees performed similar actions without suffering similar consequences.
Aponte says that the owners of the Philadelphia Pharmacy disciplined him differently from other employees and terminated his employment because he is male. As a result, the court documents say, Aponte has suffered embarrassment, humiliation and a damage to his reputation. With this discrimination, the complaint says, the store owners violated the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act.
Aponte is represented by Michael Bowman, of Bowman & Partners, LLP.
The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-02746-GP.