PHILADELPHIA – A former employee is suing the city of Philadelphia over her alleged termination, claiming discrimination, harassment and retaliation. She is citing violations of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Natalie Lee filed the suit March 17 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the city of Philadelphia.
The plaintiff says she was hired by the defendant's Water Revenue Bureau as a service representative on Aug. 5, 2013. The suit alleges she performed her duties in a professional manner. Despite this, she was subject to discrimination and harassment on the basis of her national origin and perceived disability, according to the complaint. She has scoliosis, a condition for which the plaintiff sought accommodation because it affects her ability to walk, stand or sit for long periods, the suit states.
Further, the plaintiff is an American of Jamaican origin. On Jan. 28, 2014, she filed a complaint with the city's human relations department about her supervisor's alleged derogatory comments and refusal to accommodate her disability, according to the complaint.
The plaintiff was terminated on Feb. 4, 2014, the suit claims.
The suit alleges that the termination, which happened so soon after she spoke with human relations, was motivated by discrimination and harassment on the basis of the plaintiff's national origin and disability, in retaliation for her seeking accommodation for her disability, and for her complaints about discrimination and harassment.
As a result, the plaintiff suffers economic losses and financial damages, severe emotional and psychological distress, loss of self-esteem, and loss of future earning power, according to the suit.
The plaintiff seeks judgment against the defendant for equitable relief, including reinstatement of front pay; compensation with a rate of pay and other benefits to which she would have been entitled has she not been terminated; punitive damages; compensatory damages for future pecuniary losses; attorney fees and court costs, and other relief the court deems proper. She also demands a trial by jury.
She is represented by James A. Bell IV and Christopher A. Macey Jr. of Bell & Bell LLP in Philadelphia.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case number 16-cv-1236