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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center EE-PA-0249
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-00225-CB ( W.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On March 1, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The EEOC, on behalf of a gay employee, sued Scott Medical Health Center under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC asked the court ... read more >
On March 1, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The EEOC, on behalf of a gay employee, sued Scott Medical Health Center under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC asked the court for a permanent injunction and compensatory and punitive damages. In the complaint, the EEOC claimed that the Center engaged in unlawful employment practices in violation of Title VII, including harassing conduct, sex discrimination, and employment termination based on sex. Specifically, the EEOC claimed that a gay male employee at the Center was subject to a continuing course of unwelcome and offensive harassment from a supervisor, including derogatory name-calling and offensive statements concerning the employee’s sexual practices. The work environment was so hostile that the employee eventually resigned, which the EEOC claimed amounted to a constructive discharge based on sex.

This is a somewhat novel claim, in that the EEOC claimed that discrimination based on the employee's sexual orientation was sex discrimination. The employee, by virtue of his sexual orientation, did not conform to sex stereotypes.

Prior to filing suit, the EEOC attempted to resolve the discrimination through informal methods. The EEOC was unable to secure an acceptable conciliation agreement from the defendant.

On May 9, 2016, Scott Medical moved to dismiss the case. On November 4, 2016, the District Court denied Scott Medical’s motion to dismiss. The court rejected the defendant’s claim that Title VII did not protect discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, holding that “Title VII’s ‘because of sex’ provision prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” 217 F.Supp.3d 834.

The parties made a brief attempt at Alternative Dispute Resolution, but they were excused from it on January 5, 2017. On May 3, 2017, the Court scheduled a jury trial for December 4 of that year.

On September 13, 2017, all three of Scott Medical’s lawyers sought to withdraw as counsel, and the Court gave them leave to do so. Scott Medical did not seek new counsel. (Scott Medical had recently filed for bankruptcy and likely could not afford to pay its lawyers.) The next day, the EEOC sought default judgment, as Scott Medical had no intention or ability to defend against the EEOC’s action without legal representation. On September 25, 2017, the Court granted the motion for default judgment.

On November 16, 2017, the Court granted judgment in favor of the plaintiff and found that by a preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff was entitled to back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief. 2017 WL 5493975. Scott Medical had to pay a total of $55,500.43 to the plaintiff. The Court also required Scott Medical to send the EEOC a written report on every sex harassment complaint, allegation, and charge made by any Scott Medical employee for the next five years. Until the injunction period is over, the Court retains jurisdiction in the event of a compliance dispute. The EEOC presumably continues to monitor Scott Medical’s compliance.

Julie Singer - 02/02/2017
Rebecca Strauss - 05/21/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Treatment
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Scott Medical Health Center
Plaintiff Description EEOC, on behalf of a gay male employee who experienced harassment in his workplace based on his sexual orientation
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2017 - 2022
Filing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  EEOC Scores Victory in Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuit
https://www.laboremploymentperspectives.com/
Date: Nov. 27, 2017
By: Daniel R. Long (Labor & Employment Law Perspectives)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:16-cv-225 (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0249-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-PA-0249-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order [ECF# 48] (217 F.Supp.3d 834) (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0249-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/04/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Leave to Withdraw as Counsel for Defendant Scott Medical Health Center, P.C. [ECF# 68]
EE-PA-0249-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law [ECF# 80] (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0249-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment Order [ECF# 81] (2017 WL 5493975) (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0249-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bissoon, Cathy (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0249-0002 | EE-PA-0249-0004 | EE-PA-0249-0005 | EE-PA-0249-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kane, Deborah A. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0249-0001 | EE-PA-0249-9000
Lawrence, Debra Michele (Maryland)
EE-PA-0249-0001
Phillips, Ronald L. (Maryland)
EE-PA-0249-0001 | EE-PA-0249-9000
Sellers, Catherine N. (Maryland)
EE-PA-0249-9000
Defendant's Lawyers McGee, Kyle T. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0249-0003 | EE-PA-0249-9000
Saul, Charles H. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0249-0003 | EE-PA-0249-9000
Other Lawyers Gonzalez-Pagan, Omar (New York)
EE-PA-0249-9000
Lapidus, Lenora M. (New Jersey)
EE-PA-0249-9000
Mar, Ria Tabacco (New York)
EE-PA-0249-9000
Nevins, Gregory R. (Georgia)
EE-PA-0249-9000
Palmer, Tracie L. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0249-9000
Rose, Sara (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0249-9000
Williams, David C. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0249-9000

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