A former administrative supporter in the Public Safety Department of
Bucks County Community College is suing the higher educational institution for discrimination, claiming her employment of eight years was ended after she complained about harassing treatment.
Joan Dunn, who resides in Bensalem, Pa., filed suit in U.S. District Court on Nov. 20 against the college and two of its officials over what the plaintiff considers a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Dunn, a 70-year-old black woman, claims in her lawsuit that during the last three years of her employment, while supervised by an employee identified as Linda Fossler, she was treated in a discriminatory fashion.
The woman claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment because the defendants’ management would consistently make discriminatory and derogatory comments about the plaintiff’s race.
This included comments such as calling Dunn “ghetto,” telling Dunn she knows what it’s like for “people in the hood,” and saying to the woman that “black people get too offended,” according to the complaint.
Fossler, the supervisor, would also make remarks about Dunn’s age, the lawsuit claims, including telling Dunn that she was “no good” because of her age, and asking the plaintiff when she was planning to retire.
“Plaintiff was also talked to abruptly, treated in a generally demeaning and condescending manner, and treated in a disparate manner with respect to other terms and conditions as compared to her younger, non-black co-workers,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit says that Dunn eventually complained to management, including the human resource manager, Tracy Donaldson, who is named as a co-defendant in the litigation, about the discriminatory treatment.
Dunn was ultimately fired from her position in late September 2012, the suit states.
The plaintiff alleges that her termination was “completely pretextual, as it followed shortly after her complaints of race and age discrimination which were not properly investigated or resolved as of the date Plaintiff was terminated,” the complaint reads.
The suit asserts violations of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Dunn seeks to have the college prohibited from continuing to maintain its illegal policy, practice or custom of discriminating against employees on the bases of age or race.
She also seeks unspecified compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs.
The suit was filed by Bensalem lawyer Ari R. Karpf.
The federal case number is 2:13-cv-06726-PD.