Pennsylvania Record

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Jamaican Seventh-Day Adventist says employer didn't let her observe sabbath

By Carol Ostrow | Jun 17, 2015

Penn easterndistrict federal courthouse

PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia woman is suing a skilled care facility and its associated firm, alleging discriminatory and demeaning treatment based on her race, religion and national origin.

Stacia Smith filed a lawsuit sued June 1 in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania against RC Operator, doing business as a Willow Terrace, and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, alleging employment law violation.

According to the complaint, Smith is a black Jamaican Seventh-Day Adventist whose religion observes sabbath from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday. The suit says Smith, employed as a unit manager, observed her supervisor treating non-minority workers more favorably than herself, mimicking non-American accents, tasking minority employees with undesirable hours and over-scrutinizing her job performance.

The lawsuit says Smith's requests to leave before sundown on Fridays were repeatedly denied. Her supervisor put her on a corrective action plan alleging poor performance in September 2013 after Smith complained of discriminatory treatment, according to the lawsuit.

The suit states Smith was terminated Jan. 2, 2014, and that she was discharged on the basis of her race, national origin, religion and/or her ancestral and ethnic traits. The plaintiff alleges civil rights violations by her employers, along with racial and religious discrimination, failure to accommodate and retaliation. She cities emotional distress and pain as a result of her employers’ alleged willfully malicious conduct.

Smith seeks: punitive damages; compensatory relief; interest; attorney fees; and court costs. She is represented by attorney Ari Karpf of Karpf, Karpf & Cerutti in Bensalem.

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number: 2:15-cv-03055-RB.

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