Court Gavel

A woman who formerly worked as a secretary for the Mid-Mon Valley Transit Authority sued the agency in Washington County Court, claiming she lost her job due to discrimination based on her age and medical condition.

Diana L. Stache, 61, of Monongahela, who began working as a secretary for the transit provider, based in Charleroi, in 2012, asserted she was “wrongfully terminated” in May of last year when her position was eliminated without Mid-Mon Valley Transit first following steps of corrective action or giving her rights to due process.

While on the job, she said she was instructed to wear attire she did not consider appropriate for her age and was subjected to a hostile work environment.

She received unemployment compensation, but she claims she was deemed unqualified to apply for a new position of administrative assistant and was denied training.

Stache noted she had a disability due to cancer at the time, but she was questioned about the authenticity of this diagnosis, was met with resentment when she was either absent or late for work, and victimized by falsified attendance and tardiness records.

A non-disabled person under age 40 was hired instead, Stache stated in her complaint.

“It was customary and accepted practice for the defendant to favor younger employees over (Stache) and make (her) feel like an outcast,” according to the complaint filed by attorney Frank Magone.

Stache contacted the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which wrote it was “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violates of the statutes” but let her know she could file suit on her own.

She is seeking damages including past and future lost wages from the $26,000-per-year position and benefits, interest and court costs.

Blane Black, solicitor for Mid-Mon Valley Transit, received a copy of the suit Tuesday and called it “without merit. Mrs. Stache was fired for gross incompetence and the authority has a well-documented file on this, without going into all the details.”

“The EEOC did not feel she had any merit to her claim, and quite frankly, we’re surprised the matter is still proceeding.”

Black said budgetary issues led to the re-classification of the position, and the transit authority sought someone with more qualifications.

“Her age, her health, had nothing to do with it. It was her job performance or lack thereof,” he continued.

No court date has been set.

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