Age Discrimination Cases Rise in Pa
Napsha, Joe, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
When PPG Industries Inc. fired Kathleen L. Moyer from her job as an engineer at its Harmarville glass technology center in February 2004, she was told it was part of a "reduction of force."
Moyer fought back, claiming she was an exemplary engineer who was terminated because she was 57, not because of her job performance over 36 years.
A federal arbitrator agreed that she was a victim of age discrimination and on Aug. 31 awarded her $1.03 million in compensatory damages for lost wages, pension benefits and emotional distress.
Statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that discrimination based on age was claimed in 40 percent, or 620, of the 1,554 complaints the agency received in its Pittsburgh office during the fiscal year that ended in September 2005, said Edward McCaffrey, a spokesman for the commission in Philadelphia.
"The Pittsburgh office's intake is unusual, in that sex and age allegations are the most frequently filed," McCaffrey said.
"Age discrimination cases in the past several years have been on the rise because we do have an aging population in Western Pennsylvania and an older work force," said attorney Phil Binotto, an employment law partner with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, Downtown.
In Moyer's case, the arbitrator, former U.S. Chief District Judge Donald Ziegler, ordered PPG to pay $337,336 in fees for attorneys and expert witnesses, plus $48,780 for the cost of arbitration.
Moyer, who is working as a real estate agent in the North Hills, declined Friday to comment on her case. Her federal court case against PPG on the grounds of age discrimination is not closed, said Bruce Fox, a Downtown attorney representing Moyer. …