The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

May 19, 2013

UPMC to judge: Throw out bias claim

FARRELL — UPMC Horizon has asked a federal judge to throw out a former employee’s claim that he was discriminated against because of his gender.

The ex-employee, Terry Gale, responded that the case should proceed toward trial because UPMC “twisted and distorted” its own policy to justify his firing so much that there must be another reason behind it.

Gale, of 260 Shenango Blvd., Farrell, said he was hired in April 1991 as a radiologic technologist at UPMC’s Farrell hospital. He said he was fired March 30, 2011, for using profane or inappropriate language, particularly when patients or visitors were nearby. Gale denied the charge, saying it was fabricated by a female employee.

The retaliation charges stem from a March 10, 2011, complaint Gale said he filed alleging female employees were subjecting him to a hostile work environment by telling him his line of work might not be for him, asking him if he’s been a “good little boy,” referring to his penis and making derogatory comments about being a man in a female-dominated department. These comments caused anxiety and depression, he said.

UPMC outlined these events that led to Gale’s firing:

“After completing a portable x-ray on a patient in (the critical care unit), (Gale) returned to the radiology department and discovered that the same doctor had put in a second order for a portable x-ray in the same unit. The doctor had not informed him of the second exam while he was on the unit. When he returned to the unit to perform the exam, he asked the nurses at the station, ‘Is someone trying to be inconsiderate?’ while pointing at the doctor.”

According to Gale, no patients heard the comment.

Gale argued the doctor was “inconsiderate” for making him run back and forth between departments, but he did not question the need for the exam.

“It is also obvious from the language used in the policy cited as the reason for his termination that it was aimed at words or conduct with a, shall we say, lascivious nature,” Gale said. “Saying that someone was inconsiderate is hardly profane or indecent by any standard.”

UPMC said there was a patient in the room, 15 to 20 feet away, and he also said, within earshot of the doctor, that “someone was being purposely disrespectful. She saw me in here earlier.”

In her complaint to UPMC administration, Dr. Tracy McCoy also wrote about an incident the previous month in which she ordered abdominal films for patients with small bowel obstructions.

Gale called McCoy and complained that she had ordered so many films at the same time, so early in the day, and he had to start two hours earlier to get them all done.

McCoy called Gale “disrespectful,” and said it is “not his decision on timing of films.”

The only apparent reference to his gender that Gale made in his complaint was a 2009 comment by a female co-worker that “he was part of the bigger problem in that he was born with a penis,” UPMC said.

Gale had been disciplined previously and had been warned in July 2009 about “further occurrences,” UPMC said. In his deposition, Gale said he knew her comment “was not directed at me, personally, but rather at other male persons either at work or outside of work,” UPMC said.

In his lawsuit, Gale failed to explain how UPMC’s actions discriminated against him, UPMC said.

The comments Gale complained of apparently didn’t bother him at the time they were made, UPMC said. Gale never filed a harassment complaint under UPMC’s policy, looked for another job, asked for a different shift or a different position, and he wrote in performance reviews that he was satisfied with the work he was doing, UPMC said.

Gale responded that he grew up near UPMC’s Farrell hospital and plays in a band there.

“Given that there is likely little demand for radiologists in Farrell outside (UPMC’s) facility, leaving his job would have meant uprooting his life and restarting his established medical career elsewhere,” he said.

The performance review was written “based on suggestions made to him by” his supervisor, “making them a weak reflection, as best, of his own feelings,” Gale said.

Gale worked the night shift, giving him minimal contact with his supervisors.

“It would certainly be desirable to have minimal contact with the individuals who were harassing him,” Gale said.

U.S. District Court Judge Terrence F. McVerry, Pittsburgh, will decide whether to grant judgment to UPMC based on the available information, or let the case move toward trial.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story