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Pittsburgh area educators sue school for discrimination

Three former employees of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh have sued the school's corporate owner for discrimination, saying that the school treated them differently because of their age. The plaintiffs are all in their late 40s or early 50s.

The complaint they filed with the EEOC says that they were subject to disciplinary measures for poor performance that younger employees were not. Two of three plaintiffs have also complained of racial discrimination. One of them stated that he experienced retaliation after raising concerns that the scholarship panel did not have adequate representation of minorities.

The former employees say that the Pittsburgh-based company targeted them by passing a dispute resolution policy that requires employees to pursue a specific path of dispute resolution. The employer made the police retroactive, which, if applied in this case, could result in dismissal of their claims.

Samuel Cordes (of this firm) was quoted by local reporters that creating retroactive policies that effect current claims is a questionable tactic. "The whole thing comes down to why the employer is filing it at this point and this sounds suspicious," he said. Our firm is not involved in this case.

The EEOC will issue a decision on these issues within 180 days of when the complaints were filed. Neither the EEOC of the school or the school's corporate owner have commented on the pending case at this time.

Retaliating against employees for filing an age discrimination suit is illegal in Pennsylvania and nationwide. If the school did in fact create the new policy in reaction to the EEOC complaints, then they may have violated state employment laws.

Source: Tribune Live, "2 say EDMC retaliated for discrimination complaints," Debra Erdley, Nov. 17, 2012.

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