Former private school employee sues for discriminatory firing

By Jon Campisi | Jan 19, 2012

A former private school employee who claims she was terminated from her position for discriminatory and retaliatory reasons has filed a federal complaint against her former employer.

West Chester, Pa. attorney William T. Wilson filed the job discrimination complaint Jan. 13 at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia on behalf of Delaware County, Pa. resident Donna G. Daltry.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is The Agnes Irwin School, a Rosemont, Pa.-based nonprofit learning institution.

In her lawsuit, Daltry claims she was the victim of retaliation on the part of the defendant, who fired her from her position as after-school sessions administrative assistant in early December 2009.

Daltry, who was first hired as a summer sessions administrative assistant in January 2003, is afflicted with a gastrointestinal condition that limits her ability to stand for extended periods and lift and carry heavy objects, the suit states.

The medical ailment also requires Daltry to undergo intravenous treatment, which had required her to work staggered days and have a special schedule to accommodate her needs.

The complaint alleges that Daltry’s needs were met up until the time she received new supervisors in late 2008.

It was at that point that the “accommodations started becoming an alleged problem for management,” the lawsuit states.

It started in February 2009, when Daltry was prevented from entering the school early in the morning despite the fact that the accommodation was given to others, the lawsuit claims.

This was corrected the following month, after Daltry complained of the discriminatory treatment.

During the spring of 2009, the suit claims, there were numerous meetings and correspondence concerning Daltry’s schedule and “why the accommodations that had previously been extended could supposedly not continue.”

At one point, Daltry was told she would have to work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. four days per week – her previous accommodations allowed her to work from earlier in the morning until 2 p.m. on staggered days – and she would also be scheduled for meetings after she was supposed to have ended her workday, the lawsuit states.

In November 2009, the suit claims, Daltry sent an email to her two supervisors, which included the salutation of “F.Ls.” The salutation was determined to have meant “fearless leaders.”

Daltry was reprimanded later that same month for insubordination relating to this salutation, according to the complaint.

Daltry attempted to schedule a meeting with the supervisors, as well as with a human resources representative, the lawsuit states, but neither gathering ever occurred.

On Dec. 9, 2009, the day that ended up being Daltry’s final day of work, the plaintiff was told that her Nov. 19 email was insubordinate. Daltry’s supervisors also made “several other accusations about the plaintiff’s work performance that were inaccurate,” the suit claims.

Daltry was subsequently terminated from her position of six years.

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of violating the American’s with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, claiming that the school discriminated against Daltry because of her physical maladies.

Daltry demands back pay, attorney’s fees, compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $150,000, job reinstatement and other court relief.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-00156-JHS.

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