Pennsylvania Woman Sues Beacon Health for Discrimination and Unlawful Termination

A Pennsylvania woman filed a lawsuit on Thursday in the Western District of Pennsylvania against behavioral health company Beacon Health Options of Pennsylvania Inc. for alleged discrimination and unlawful termination. 

According to the complaint, the plaintiff, 61, worked as an outpatient treatment reporting screener at Beacon for 21 years. She was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in early 2020 after her mother’s death, and requested reasonable medical accommodations at this time, including a two- to three-month medical leave until August 2020, the lawsuit states. Upon her return on a part-time basis, she claims she became the target of harassment, receiving criticism for the quality and speed of her work and an increased workload.

The plaintiff submitted reasonable accommodation paperwork from her doctor in October 2020, requesting a lesser workload, the complaint notes. Her request was denied without Beacon providing any legitimate reason why, the lawsuit claims. Shortly thereafter, she was given a written warning requiring her to perform an “unreasonable” amount of job duties for a part-time position, including a quota of 20 to 25 inquiries per day, returning all phone calls and covering for absent co-workers. She met with her supervisor and HR about the situation, and again requested accommodation to temporarily decrease her workload, but her request was again denied. 

After the meeting with her supervisor and HR, the plaintiff received a follow-up email, stating she was now required to complete 20 to 25 complex inquiries or up to 60 less complex inquiries per day. She emailed both parties about the higher quota, but received no response, court documents state.

In January 2021, the plaintiff informed Beacon that her doctor had approved her to return to work full-time. However, before she was allowed to return to work full-time, she was terminated on January 21, 2021 for allegedly failing to meet performance expectations. In addition to disability discrimination and retaliation, the plaintiff claims she was terminated because of her advanced age. 

The lawsuit claims Beacon violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The plaintiff is seeking the defendant to promulgate and adhere to a policy prohibiting discrimination and retaliation against employees; provide back pay, reinstatement and benefits; punitive and/or liquidated damages; other equitable and legal relief as the Court deems appropriate; and attorney’s fees. 

The plaintiff is represented by Karpf, Karpf & Cerutti PC.