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Acme woman gets $87K in harassment case

| Thursday, July 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A judge awarded nearly $87,000 to an Acme woman who claimed she was wrongly fired because she filed a sexual harassment complaint against her boss at Kensington Lighting in Greensburg.

Following a two-day nonjury trial, Westmoreland County Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. ruled in favor of Gloria Palko, 58.

In her 2010 lawsuit, Palko contended the company's part owner, Gary L. Whitenight, 66, forced himself on her in a sexual manner and improperly touched her during an incident two years earlier.

McCormick heard two days of testimony in the case in April and ruled Monday that the business pay Palko $50,000 in damages and that Whitenight was liable for $25,000 in damages.

The company was ordered to pay Palko, a former customer service representative for the business, nearly $12,000 in lost wages.

“It's been a long hard road. She is very pleased,” said Palko's lawyer, Samuel Cordes.

Dennis J. Gounley, the lawyer for the company and Whitenight, said an appeal is being considered.

“Obviously we're very disappointed. We felt Ms. Palko's story was completely untrue. It was merely a dispute over her seniority in her job. It had nothing to do with any sexual assault,” Gounley said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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