Pharmaceutical co. sued by former Pa. sales rep. for retaliatory firing

By Jon Campisi | Jun 26, 2012

A former sales representative for a Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company has

filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer alleging she was unlawfully terminated in retaliation for complaining about incidents of sexual harassment.

Lauren Dattilo-Barker, who resides in Bucks County, Pa., claims in her lawsuit that she was unfairly fired from her job of two months with Dartmouth Pharmaceuticals Inc. after complaining about unwelcome, inappropriate and sexually charged comments made by one of her supervisors.

This alleged harassment included her supervisor making sexually offensive and degrading comments to the plaintiff as well as making sexually inappropriate gestures to the 32-year-old woman, the suit states.

The lawsuit, which was filed June 22 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Philadelphia attorney Sidney L. Gold, also alleges that Dattilo-Barker’s supervisor, while videotaping the plaintiff and colleagues for a mock sales pitch, panned the video camera “up and down” the body of a coworker of the plaintiff’s, which made Dattilo-Barker feel uncomfortable.

The plaintiff complained about the incident to a coworker who in turn informed Dattilo-Barker’s supervisor, a district manager, about what had transpired, the lawsuit states.

But instead of launching an investigation into the matter, the defendant simply ignored the complaints, failing to take any action to attempt to get the harassment to cease, the suit claims.

The supervisor eventually called Dattilo-Barker into his office, where he told the woman to “grow up,” thereby causing the plaintiff to feel “extremely frightened and helpless,” and exacerbating the hostile work environment, the lawsuit claims.

From there on out, the lawsuit claims, the defendant embarked on a campaign of retaliation against the plaintiff, which culminated with her abrupt termination on June 19, 2011, allegedly for poor job performance.

The plaintiff had worked out of a Pennsylvania office of the defendant’s.

“Curiously, Plaintiff Dattilo-Barker had received two (2) emails from [her supervisor] the previous week congratulating her on recent sales,” the lawsuit states. “Moreover, the retaliatory termination of Plaintiff Dattilo-Barker’s employment was in violation of her employment contract with the Defendant which required seven (7) days notice prior to the termination of employment.”

The lawsuit also claims that as further retaliation, the defendant illegally seized $1,508.33 from the plaintiff’s personal bank account for unexplained reasons.

The complaint contains counts of sexual harassment, hostile work environment and retaliation.

Dattilo-Barker seeks lost pay, damages for future pecuniary loss, as well as pain, suffering, inconvenience and mental anguish, and she seeks to be reimbursed for attorney’s fees and other court costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-03540-MAM. 

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