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Allegheny County Common Pleas court sued in age-discrimination claim

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:59 p.m.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, claiming that a manager fired a 70-year-old employee because of her age.

According to the federal lawsuit filed late on Tuesday in Pittsburgh, a staffing agency assigned Carolyn J. Pittman of Perry South to the courts in February 2012. Pittman worked under a court employee who trained and supervised her.

During training, the supervisor complained that Pittman was too old to work in the department and said she couldn't see well enough because she was too old. The supervisor fired Pittman on March 28, 2012, “based on the perception that Pittman was too old to adequately perform the job and the pretext that Pittman made too many errors,” the lawsuit states.

The EEOC said Pittman was replaced by “at least one much younger worker.”

Common Pleas Court Administrator Claire Capristo said she couldn't comment on litigation or personnel matters. Pittman, now 72, could not be reached.

The EEOC requested a permanent injunction barring the court from discriminating based on an employee's age. It asked the court to pay Pittman back wages.

Debra Lawrence, an attorney in the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, said federal law “ensures that everyone has the right to participate and advance in the workplace without discriminatory barriers.”

“Older workers bring invaluable experience and knowledge to the workplace, which should not be overlooked by employers due to age-based stereotypes,” Lawrence said.

Downtown attorney Charles A. Lamberton said the county courts are “simply creatures of the state government” and must follow federal law.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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