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Court: Former Allegheny DA's detective can pursue age discrimination claim

| Friday, June 27, 2014, 11:19 a.m.

A former detective for the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office can pursue his age discrimination claim in federal court, but he can't make it into a constitutional rights case, an appeals court ruled Friday in a decision that sets a precedent.

Anthony Hildebrand of Moon claimed his supervisors harassed him about his age before firing him in February 2011. He was 61 when he sued the county and district attorney's office in 2012 under the federal age discrimination law and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab dismissed the lawsuit in January 2013.

A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Schwab that Hildebrand can't proceed with the constitutional claim. It upheld Schwab's ruling that Hildebrand can't sue the county because he didn't include the county in the intake questionnaire he filled out with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In another precedent-setting decision, the appeals court ruled that Hildebrand's filling out the questionnaire constituted filing a complaint with the EEOC.

Schwab ruled that it didn't and, therefore, that Hildebrand had failed to raise his complaint within the 300-day statute of limitations for discrimination claims.

The court ruled that Hildebrand met the deadline and could pursue his claim against the district attorney in Pittsburgh federal court.

Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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