Mercy Suburban Hospital faces wrongful termination lawsuit

By Jon Campisi | Sep 14, 2011

A doctor who formerly worked for a suburban Philadelphia hospital is suing his previous employer in federal court, alleging his termination was age-related.

Bensalem, Pa. attorney Ari R. Karpf, of the firm Karpf & Karpf, P.C., filed the job discrimination lawsuit Sept. 12 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Donald Sesso of Gwynedd Valley, Pa.

The defendants named in the civil action are Montgomery County, Pa.-based Mercy Suburban Hospital and Mercy Health System.

The lawsuit contends that Sesso’s firing in mid 2009, six years after he began working for Mercy Suburban Hospital as a doctor of osteopathic medicine, was related to his age. Sesso was in his mid 60s when he was terminated.

The lawsuit states that hospital administrators told Sesso and another employee, who was in his 70s and also fired, that their contracts would not be renewed because they were each about to retire.

“Plaintiff had no such intent to retire, expressed he did not intend to retire, and wanted to remain an employee of Defendants,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that Sesso even raised concerns about his termination being age related, but it didn’t seem to sway hospital officials any in their decision-making process.

“Defendants terminated Plaintiff in mid-2009 solely because of his age and because of their perception that he should retire,” the lawsuit states.

Both Sesso and the other worker who was fired were replaced by younger medical staff and recent graduates, the suit claims.

The lawsuit states that although Sesso worked within Mercy Suburban Hospital, which is located at 2701 DeKalb Pike in East Norriton, Pa., he was directly supervised by the chief executive officer of Mercy Health System, the hospital’s parent company, which is based in Conshohocken, Pa.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

There are also counts of wrongful termination and retaliation.

Sesso seeks front pay, back pay, bonuses, insurance, benefits, pay increases, and other compensation he would have received should he not have been fired.

Sesso also seeks to be rewarded actual damages, as well as damages for pain and suffering, plus court costs and other equitable relief deemed appropriate by the court.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-05718.

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