Fired door finisher sues former employer for retaliation and discrimination

By Jon Campisi | Mar 7, 2012

A Philadelphia man who alleges he was fired from the job where he worked at for more than two-and-a-half years in retaliation for speaking out about discrimination at the workplace has filed a federal complaint against the city-based company.

Cherry Hill, N.J. attorneys Richard S. Swartz and Justin L. Swidler filed the civil action March 5 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Dario Medina of the city’s Port Richmond neighborhood.

The defendant in the lawsuit is Cutting Edge Doors, Inc., which is located on Melvale Street in Philadelphia.

According to the complaint, Medina, who is Puerto Rican, was hired as a door finisher in mid-June 2009. He was the only Puerto Rican employee working for the defendant.

In late 2010 or early 2011, the company hired a new worker who was fond of using racial slurs and making derogatory comments to employees who weren’t white, the lawsuit claims.

Medina complained to his manager in early 2011 about the remarks and harassing comments being made by the new employee, but nothing was ever done to address the complaints, with the manager often telling Medina to worry “only about [himself],” according to the complaint.

“Defendant failed to take any remedial action in response to Plaintiff’s complaints,” the lawsuit states.

Then, in late September or early October 2011, the offending employee directly referenced Medina using a racially insensitive term, the suit claims.

As he had before, Medina complained of the treatment to management, but also like before, nothing was done to address his concerns, the suit claims.

Things progressed even worse, with the other employee printing out a photo of a black man and scrawling on it a racially derogatory term used for black people, according to the complaint.

Again, nothing was done to remedy the situation.

Medina was terminated on Dec. 12, 2011 for borrowing a bottle of caulk from the workplace without permission, the lawsuit contends.

“Employees routinely borrowed supplies, materials, and equipment from Defendant and were never disciplined or terminated for same,” the suit states.

The day after he was fired, Medina learned he was being replaced by a white man.

“The reasons identified by Defendant for Plaintiff’s termination were pretextual,” the complaint alleges. “In fact, Defendant fired Plaintiff because he complained about racial discrimination in the workplace and harassment in the workplace, as well as discrimination and harassment in the workplace based on his ethnicity and/or ancestry.”

The complaint accuses the defendant of civil rights violations. It contains counts of ethnic discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Medina seeks to have the company enjoined from discriminating or retaliating against anyone on the basis of race.

He also seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees and other equitable and legal relief.

Medina is demanding a jury trial.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-01151-GP. 

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