A Bucks County woman is suing Warminster Township and the municipality’s public library over claims that she was denied a job promotion because her healthcare costs are a burden on the township, namely due to the fact that her disabled pastor husband, a dependent on her plan, requires extensive medical care following a vehicle accident with an 18-wheel tractor trailer.
The federal civil rights action, filed at the U.S. District Court June 20 by attorney Sharon Gilbert Timm, alleges that plaintiff Gayle Jobst was denied a job promotion from head reference librarian at the Warminster Township Public Library to library director in part because of political reasons and also due to discrepancies with regard to her employment status; the dispute concerned whether Jobst was an employee of the township or the library.
Jobst maintained she was a township employee who was eligible to receive healthcare benefits and a pension.
In the course of the dispute, Jobst had to provide detailed information about her husband’s health condition since she desired to receive healthcare benefits.
The complaint says that Jobst was first hired as an administrative assistant at the library on Dec. 4, 2000, at a pay rate of $15.65 per hour.
The plaintiff, who is a member of a collective bargaining unit, was later promoted to the position of head reference librarian, pulling in an hourly wage of $20.65, the record shows.
She applied to become library director, a position that pays $70,000 annually, at the time the former director was retiring.
It was around this time that the dispute arose concerning the plaintiff’s job status.
According to the complaint, the husband, Terry Jobst, a Protestant pastor, was seriously injured in August 2005 during an accident in which his vehicle was struck by an 18-wheeler.
The pastor sustained a broken neck as a result of the collision, and ended up undergoing four years worth of surgeries and medical procedures, as well as an additional two years of rehabilitation, the lawsuit states.
Terry Jobst still has difficulty breathing on his own, and he has trouble with mobility.
As for his wife, Gayle Jobst learned she was being denied the promotion to library director in early February 2012, the complaint states, with the library trustees bringing aboard a woman who has never worked for the system before to become the library’s new director.
Gayle Jobst, however, claims in her suit that she ended up doing much of the work that would be handled by the director since the new hire had no experience with certain aspects of the job.
More than a year later, the new director, identified as Margaret Lindner, still needs training from the plaintiff, the suit states.
“Lindner has admitted to Plaintiff that when Plaintiff is not at work in the Library, work does not get done as Lindner does not know how to get her tasks done without Plaintiff’s help,” the complaint reads.
Meanwhile, Terry Jobst, the plaintiff’s husband, is mentioned in the suit as having had a negative encounter with Doug Mondel, a Warminster Township Board member, at Mondel’s home.
When Terry Jobst went to the home of Mondel, who now serves as the board chairman of the Warminster Library, the two conversed about a man identified as Neil Modell who wanted to submit the winning bid for the township’s uniform and non-uniform lucrative healthcare contract, the complaint states.
Modell is alleged to have said he could save the township a lot of money if awarded the contract.
Modell’s firm was recommended by a former township supervisor, according to the suit.
The conversation then turned toward Terry’s wife, the complaint says, with Mondel telling the pastor that Gayle would likely never be hired as library director because her husband is a “troublemaker, and a huge drain on Library resources due to his medical costs.”
Mondel allegedly stated that under the Obama healthcare regulations, the township must terminate union employees to reach the “magic number” of 49 employees so the township doesn’t have to participate fully in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Mondel them claimed that as a priest, Terry Jobst was prevented from repeating Mondel’s statements due to confession confidentiality, but Terry denied the claim, saying that Mondel is Jewish, and the confession was not made to his rabbi.
According to the suit, Mondel then admitted that the township and its lawyers were afraid Gayle Jobst would file an Equal Employment Opportunity claim, so the township delayed her union grievance and the new union contract long enough to run out her administrative filing.
That’s when, at least according to the suit, things turned discriminatory, with Mondel, after being informed that Gayle Jobst had, in fact, filed an EEOC claim, allegedly compared Terry Jobst to Adolf Hitler, saying that Hitler was also a Lutheran who persecuted the Jews.
“You’ve had a vendetta since the right to know request,” Mondel allegedly said to Terry Jobst, according to the lawsuit. “Hitler did one thing right, he said the disabled should be euthanized.”
Mondel then claimed that the chairman of Terry Jobst’s former congregation that Terry had “purposely switched” his medical insurance coverage costs from the congregation to Gayle Jobst’s medical plan, “and thus the taxpayers of Warminster,” the suit reads.
Mondel then allegedly called Terry Jobst a “goddamn Jew hater,” and instructed the man to leave his property, the suit states.
The complaint accuses the defendants of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act.
The plaintiffs demand $150,000 in compensatory damages, as well as interest, costs, attorney’s fees and other legal and injunctive relief.
The federal case number is 2:13-cv-03528-TON.