Ex-pharma firm staffer alleges he was fired after reporting discriminatory employment practices

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 8, 2018

US Army and BARDA receive pharmaceutical product development research contracts   Courtesy of angelfire.com

PHILADELPHIA – An executive assistant for a pharmaceutical company in Philadelphia claims he was unlawfully terminated after meeting with its human resources department to report discriminatory employment practices.

Osee Edwards of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on April 30 versus IROKO Pharmaceuticals, LLC, also of Philadelphia.

Edwards, an African-American, was offered an executive assistant role by the IROKO pharmaceutical company on Aug. 1, 2013, at a starting salary of $68,000, plus stipulated annual bonuses at a 20 percent target. The suit states Edwards began in his role on Aug. 19 of that same year and received positive reviews and performance evaluations, and was consistently rated as an “exceptional employee.”

When speaking with IROKO’s Human Resources Director Frances Rhoades on Sept. 27, 2017, Rhoades told Edwards upon departure of the company’s General Counsel, he would continue to assist other employees in the legal department in an administrative capacity.

The following day, Rhoades and Edwards met again, this time for the plaintiff to discuss allegedly-discriminatory employment practices at IROKO: Including hiring and promoting personnel to senior-level positions without following proper protocols, most notably with Caucasian employees, while not applying those same standards to employees of other races.

Just one week later, on Oct. 5 of last year, Edwards was terminated and told his last day would be Oct. 16, 2017, which he says is in violation of his employment contract, which mandates two-week prior notice of termination and severance pay.

For counts of breach of employment contract and violation of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law, the plaintiff is seeking unpaid wages and full compensation for unused benefits, 100 percent of the 2017 annual bonus at the 20 percent target agreed-upon, liquidated damages of 25 percent of the total owed to plaintiff under the WCPL, costs and fees, including reasonable attorney’s fees and such other and further relief, legal or equitable, as the Court deems appropriate in this matter.

The plaintiff is represented by Glenn A. Brown of Real World Law, in Upper Darby.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180404674

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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Iroko Pharmaceuticals Inc Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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