Woman fired after 15 years charges Stonemor Partners with unlawful age discrimination

By Carol Ostrow | Oct 14, 2015

An Allegheny County citizen is suing her former Pennsylvania employer alleging violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in her recent job termination.

Ruth Thornquest of Pittsburgh sued Stonemor Partners of Levittown, a cemetery products company, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on Oct. 8, claiming unlawful employment practices when it dismissed her in February after a 15-year period of employment.

According to the complaint, “plaintiff was told on numerous occasions that defendant wanted to move in a 'younger direction' and plaintiff was subsequently fired because of her age.” Thornquest was 50 years old at the time of her termination.

The suit states that not only was Thornquest subjected to her employer’s alleged discrimination, but also that other older staffers were similarly treated. Alleging tactics such as micromanagement, the plaintiff charges the defendant with impeding her ability to perform her job adequately, writing her up for not achieving numerical sales goals, and forcing her to sign the performance complaint against her beginning in September 2014.

Thornquest contends that she was intentionally re-assigned to new sales territories with low potential, while younger employees were given higher-yielding areas. Claiming willful sabotage continuing through February, the plaintiff avers that she was terminated on Feb. 12 based on performance issues and replaced with a person 15 years younger than herself whose work performance was allegedly on the low end.

Arguing that the company has a history of age discrimination, Thornquest charges the defendant with violation of the ADEA and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. She seeks monetary damages for loss of wages for 15 years in the amount of more than $2,220,000, punitive damages of more than $200,000, legal fees of more than $30,000, pre- and post-judgment interest, and court costs. The plaintiff is represented by Christi Wallace of Kraemer, Manes & Associates of Pittsburgh.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania 2:15-cv-01312-TFM

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