An ex-SEPTA employee says she withstood months of harassment from her supervisor who refused to make reasonable accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) before her alleged wrongful termination in February 2013.
Roslyn Oden, of Philadelphia, seeks damages in excess of $100,000 from SEPTA and manager, Stacy Richardson, on five counts of violations to the ADA, the Civil Rights Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA).
According to the complaint, Oden worked as a bus operator for SEPTA from March 1989 to April 2011, when she was medically disqualified by SEPTA because of her disability, a bipolar mental disorder first diagnosed in 2005. The diagnosis is covered under provisions of the ADA and the PHRA and allows for employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees.
When she was re-assigned to a cashier position, Oden informed her supervisor, Richardson, that she would need flexible reporting time and occasional personal and sick time because of her disability. The claim says that her managers refused to make a good faith effort to accommodate the request and docked her disciplinary points when Oden arrived to work late.
The suit alleges that Richardson falsified documents that led to Oden's first termination in April 2013, but a union investigation cleared the plaintiff, who returned to work the following September. According to the claim, Richardson was never disciplined for the alleged falsified documents.
A month after her return, Oden was accused of and denied threatening another employee, and a few weeks later another cashier slapped Oden's hand, an action that was caught by surveillance cameras. The complaint says that no action was taken against the cashier, but Oden was suspended for 13 days.
In January 2013, Oden says, Richardson scored negative attendance points against Oden when she took an FMLA-approved day off, followed by a write-up for an unexcused absence a few days later, even though Oden allegedly left a voice message saying she was using a personal day.
The plaintiff says she was subjected to aggressive monitoring and enforcement of work rules right up until her termination at the end of February 2013. Oden claims the actions were an act of discrimination against her mental disabilities and was implicitly supported by SEPTA.
Oden is represented by Philadelphia attorney Olugbenga Abiona.
The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-06197-JP.