Former railway engineer alleges gender discrimination

Kasey Schefflin-Emrich Jun. 27, 2015, 12:48pm


PITTSBURGH - A Beaver County woman is suing a transportation company, alleging she was terminated from her job as an engineer because of her gender.

Rebecca Wayne filed a lawsuit June 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against the Norfolk-Southern Corporation, alleging gender discrimination.

According to the complaint, Wayne, who started working for the defendant in June 1999, experienced ongoing discrimination throughout her employment and was the only female engineer assigned to trains traveling west out of Conway Terminal. This included demeaning comments from her male co-workers, the suit says.

The lawsuit states Wayne was terminated Feb. 13, 2014, because she violated the defendant's policy of open discrimination against other employees based upon race.

The incident happened in January 2014, the suit says, when Wayne said she would not ride with a male fellow engineer on the same locomotive unit during a return trip from Toledo, Ohio, to the Conway Terminal.

She explained her reason was because the male engineer had a reputation for making sexually charged statements, including to the plaintiff, and she was concerned if she rejected his sexual advances he would retaliate by alleging racial discrimination as he had a previous history of filing racial discrimination claims against other employees. 

The suit says because of this decision not to ride with the male engineer, Wayne was suspended and then terminated, despite having no prior alleged incidents of discriminating individuals based on race and that similarly situated male co-workers were given lesser disciplinary action for the same or similar actions. The plaintiff alleges she suffered severe humiliation, mental distress and monetary loss.

Wayne seeks reinstatement, compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and benefits, front pay, cost and expenses of litigation, and other relief deemed appropriate by the court. She is represented by attorney Mark F. McKenna of McKenna & Associates in Pittsburgh.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number: 2:15-cv-00758-CB.

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