Apria Healthcare Group faces discrimination suit by former employee

By Jon Campisi | Jul 22, 2013

A former employee of a California-based healthcare business claims he was fired from his

position after complaining about an allegedly hostile work environment.

Ponsford P. Doe, who resides in Philadelphia, claims in his civil action that his former employer, Apria Healthcare Group Inc., unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of race.

In the July 19 lawsuit, filed at the federal court in Philadelphia by attorney Gerald Jay Pomerantz, Doe alleges that after becoming a full-time employee in the spring of 2010, he started complaining to management about the discriminatory behavior exhibited by coworkers when the plaintiff was a temp employee months earlier.

During his time working as a temp, Doe claims, he received disparate treatment by a white supervisor who prohibited non-white employees from using the restroom during anytime except scheduled breaks, and reprimanded non-white employees from speaking during work hours.

When he became a full-time employee, Doe felt comfortable enough to raise complaints about the prior treatment, the lawsuit states, but Doe ended up being told by a supervisor that “if he didn’t like the rules he should leave.”

“Plaintiff raised the issue several times but always received the same answer, and no change in the discriminatory behavior took place, nor did upper management, who was made aware, take any steps to correct the illegal treatment,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit goes on to spell out a number of alleged incidents in which the plaintiff was subject to racially discriminatory treatment that was never corrected by management.

In early September 2012, the suit states, Doe was called into his supervisor’s office at which time he was told he had made record-keeping mistakes in connection with his job duties, and that he was being discharged from his position.

Doe requested to see the alleged mistakes, but was rebuffed, the suit claims.

The man was then told that if he didn’t leave the premises the police would be called to escort him off the property.

Doe worked at the defendant’s plant in Upper Chichester, Pa.

“It is believed and therefore averred that the failure by Defendant to investigate and act to correct episodes of harassment and abuse of Plaintiff by another of Defendant’s employees was racially motivated,” the complaint reads.

The suit alleges that the healthcare company also failed to provide documentation and post information on how to report discriminatory behavior when requests for remediation to local management are ignored.

As a result of being fired, Doe claims he has suffered earnings and benefits losses, and that he has experienced pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and a loss of life’s pleasures.

The suit, which accuses the defendant of violating the federal Civil Rights Act, contains counts of hostile work environment, unlawful termination, and retaliation.

Doe seeks declaratory judgment, in addition to unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, litigation costs and attorney’s fees.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-04204-ER.

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