EEOC v. Northwestern Human Services

No. 03-cv-4770 (E.D. Pa. December 8, 2004)

The Philadelphia District Office filed this Title VII national origin hostile work environment and retaliatory discharge lawsuit against Northwestern Human Services, a large Philadelphia social service organization. Charging party, who is from Ghana, speaks accented English. When defendant terminated charging party in December 2001, he had 9 years of experience with defendant and was a Program Manager responsible for several programs for the mentally disabled. In early 2001 charging party was placed on a performance improvement plan for a medication error, over the objection of his immediate supervisor who argued that he had not been trained in that area, which was a responsibility of the nurses. Charging party's supervisor left a few months later, and was replaced by a close friend of the manager who had put charging party on the PIP. Charging party's new supervisor constantly made negative comments about his and other Africans' accents and ability to speak English. In October 2001, charging party complained to upper management about the harassment; about a month later he received two disciplinary warnings, and 2 weeks after he complained again he was terminated. Under the 2-year consent decree resolving the case charging party will receive $86,000 in monetary relief. The decree enjoins defendant from harassment on the basis of national origin and from engaging in practices that constitute retaliation under Title VII.

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