Former tech school dean says employer discriminated against her age and gender

By Jim Boyle | Oct 13, 2014

The former dean of education for a Harrisburg-based technical career school says her supervisor subjected her to derogatory comments and unfair treatment based on her age and gender, according to a civil rights suit file at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Nancy Navetta, of Harrisburg, seeks compensatory damages from the Keystone Technical Institute in the form of back pay and future wages that she would have earned if not for the discriminatory actions of her supervisor, plus punitive damages on nine separate counts, including violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

According to the complaint, Navetta began serving KTI as the dean of students in February 2012, under the supervision of Norman Rankis, with whom she shared a positive work relationship. When Rankis left in December 2012, KTI's president, David Snyder, assumed his responsibilities and proceeded to create a hostile work environment for Navetta, according to the claim.

The complaint says that Snyder constantly made disparaging jokes and remarks about Navetta's age and gender, allegedly saying that she may be too old for the position. According to the claim, at one point Snyder held a meeting with senior staff and condoned and participated in making derogatory comments about about KTI instructors regarding their disabilities and age. Navetta's complaints about the language were ignored, the complaint says.

The plaintiff also experienced discriminatory practices around the school, such as a requirement that she clock in and out for her shifts, even though younger employees in similar positions were not asked to do the same. They also were given newer computer equipment, items that Navetta never received.

Navetta says a negative performance evaluation in March 2013 was inaccurate and a pretext to force her resignation. She was given a performance improvement plan, with benchmarks that Navetta achieved. However, she also began to get criticized for her need to assist her disabled husband return home from work.

Because of his disability, the claim says, Navetta's husband could not drive. This required the plaintiff to leave work for 10 to 15 minutes a day to pick him up and take him home. The claim says that this daily routine did not negatively affect her job performance, but in April 2013, Snyder said she was violating company policy.

Navetta was demoted and replaced by a younger employee, while she had to endure a cut in salary and benefits. Finally, she was terminated from KTI in August 2014, the claim says.

The plaintiff is represented by attorneys from Murphy & Associates in Blue Bell, Pa.

The federal case ID is 5:14-cv-05724-LS.


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