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Former Westmoreland deputy sheriff sues, wants job back

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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A former Westmoreland County deputy sheriff claims in court documents filed Tuesday that he was fired for being too old.

Michael J. Zampogna, 68, of Lower Burrell, filed an age discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh against the county and sheriff's department.

Zampogna, a 12-year veteran of the department, claimed Sheriff Jonathan Held wrongly fired him in February 2012, a month after Held took office.

Held denied he the allegations and noted that his chief deputy Paul McCommons, hired last year, is more than 70 years old.

“I emphatically state I did not discriminate against anyone because of age or anything else,” Held said.

According to the lawsuit, Held, through several of his underlings, attempted to have Zampogna retire, transferred him to other duties and eventually terminated him for insubordination.

Zampogna claimed in the lawsuit the there was no basis for insubordination and that he was replaced on the job by a deputy at least 10 years his junior.

Zampogna is seeking to be reinstated and paid back wages.

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