Carol Ostrow Oct. 27, 2015, 2:55pm


A former police officer is suing the Pennsylvania Housing Authority, alleging racial discrimination and unlawful work practices in alleging violation of the Civil Rights Act and the PHRA.

Glenn Eskridge of Philadelphia filed a lawsuit Oct. 13 in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the sued Pennsylvania Housing Authority, and naming as respondents supervisors Joanne Strauss, Kelvin Jeremiah and James Mitchell, all of Philadelphia County. The plaintiff alleges he was subjected to retaliatory discrimination and a hostile work environment through October 2014.

According to the complaint, Eskridge, a black male older than 40, belongs to a protected class. The suit states he was hired as a police officer for the City of Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) on Feb. 10, 1989.

The lawsuit states that when the plaintiff established a personal relationship with a female colleague in 2005, the PHA had no rules prohibiting such actions, and that Eskridge’s supervisors were aware of it. However, a new director instituted a no-fraternization rule in 2013, the suit says, and when the plaintiff made reports regarding salary discrimination against him in 2014, he was told on April 7, 2014 to retire or face termination for his relationship with a co-worker.

When Eskridge’s doctor instructed him to stay home from work due to the hostile environment, the suit states, he remained out of work May 15-Oct. 15, 2014. The plaintiff alleges PHA’s human resources department alternately placed him on family medical leave, forced him back to work and then demoted him—only to increase his workload, further complicating the case.

The suit alleges the defendants violated the plaintiff's 1st and 14th Amendment rights, and were aware their actions would result in a deprivation of employment rights. Eskridge argues the PHA did not enforce the no-fraternization rules for others, naming Strauss herself as a party romantically linked to a work colleague.

The plaintiff alleges lost wages and benefits.

Eskridge seeks plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, reassignment or transfer, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, and court costs. He is represented by attorney Alexis Zafferes of the Law Offices of Brian M. Puricelli in Warrington.

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania 2:15-cv-05576-WB.

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