• Pennsylvania Employee Terminated for Legitimate Reasons Despite Claims of Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation
  • March 22, 2018
  • On February 13, 2018, a jury found in favor of a defendant employer against a plaintiff alleging hostile work environment and retaliation. In Johnson v. Keystone Quality Transp. Co., Johnson, a former employee of Keystone working as a paratransit van driver, alleged hostile work environment and retaliation after she was terminated. No. 2:16-cv-06603-GJP. Johnson alleged claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et. seq. (“Title VII”) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. §§ 951, et. seq. (“PHRA”).

    According to the Complaint, while working at Keystone, Johnson’s supervisor began sexually harassing and assaulting her, including sending inappropriate pictures of himself and groping her more than once. Once Johnson reported the harassment, the supervisor was terminated by Keystone for his actions. However, about a week later, Plaintiff was suspended and ultimately fired. In her suit, Johnson alleged she was terminated in retaliation for reporting the harassment.

    Keystone successfully rebutted Johnson’s claims by proving that Johnson’s suspension was a result of taking the wrong vehicle and preventing the use of another vehicle as she had the set of car keys on her. Keystone argued that after the suspension was over, Johnson was not terminated, but rather she abandoned her job, as she failed to come back to work. Weighing the facts of the case, a jury determined there was no sexual harassment or retaliation by Keystone against Johnson.