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PA Partner Wins Defense Verdict in WV Discrimination Case

Partner Trisha A. Gill obtained a unanimous defense verdict in the Circuit Court of Wood County, West Virginia after a four day jury trial in a gender and disability discrimination case. The plaintiff was a 31-year employee of our client, a federal credit union and was its CEO at the time of her termination.

Plaintiff claimed that the federal credit union terminated her due to her gender and also the credit union’s perception of her as a disabled individual. Plaintiff had a seizure disorder and had experienced seizures at work. Plaintiff alleged that our client perceived her as disabled and terminated her as a result.

Our federal credit union client denied that it regarded her as disabled and further denied that her seizure disorder was a factor in its decision. Rather, the credit union terminated her employment after plaintiff underwrote various loans that violated credit union policy and federal regulatory policies. While there was evidence the credit union’s board discussed her seizure disorder at a meeting wherein her termination was discussed, the jury believed our client’s representatives who testified she was terminated solely because of the policy violations associated with the loans she underwrote.

Our client replaced Plaintiff with a male CEO at a higher salary which was justified based upon his experience and willingness to start employment immediately.

Plaintiff alleged in the complaint there also was tortious interference with a prospective contractual relationship. On this count, plaintiff offered testimony from a prospective employer who called our client for employment verification.  The prospective employer testified that our client advised that the plaintiff was not honest or trustworthy and was ineligible for rehire.  Our client denied stating that the plaintiff was not honest or trustworthy and only replied to the employment verification by stating plaintiff was ineligible for rehire.

Following closing arguments, the jury deliberated for approximately 30 minutes and returned a unanimous defense verdict on all counts.

Trisha Gill focuses her practice primarily on the defense of employers in employment discrimination claims in federal court, state court and administrative agencies. She is based in the Firm’s Pittsburgh office and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.