The Penn Record May 31, 2016, 7:32pm


PITTSBURGH — A former assistant professor is suing The Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, a public university, citing alleged sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation.

Dr. Maria C.R. Harrington filed a complaint on April 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against The Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania alleging that the public university failed to take prompt and adequate remedial action.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that, on Feb. 27, 2012, defendant's employee Richard Grimm subjected her to unwanted sexual contact and behavior. She reported the incident to defendant's employee Beverly Gocal, who refused to investigate, she says. And in May 2012, Gocal threatened to fire her, which she reported to defendant's employee Holly McCoy, but McCoy refused to take corrective action, the suit says. Due to this inaction, she reported to SRU officials who also refused to take corrective action, according to the suit. On Dec. 4, 2012, defendant's employee Kurt Schimmel recommended her non-renewal and/or termination, she claims. Soon thereafter, her employment was terminated and she was replaced by a less qualified male, the suit alleges. As a direct and proximate result, she suffered humiliation, inconvenience, mental stress, embarrassment, loss of income and benefits, according to the suit. The plaintiff holds The Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania responsible because the defendant allegedly discriminated against her because of her sex and subjected her to unwelcome and unwanted conduct of sexual nature.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks an order to reinstate her, an order enjoining the defendant from discriminating and retaliating against her, compensation for all damages, attorney's fees, costs and expenses and such further legal relief as the court may deem just and proper. She is represented by Adam G. Vahanian of The Chiurazzi Law Group in Pittsburg.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:16-cv-00474

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U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Division
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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