Manager Allegedly Tells Employee That She’s “Not Smiling Enough,” Subjects Her To Excessive Scrutiny, And Obstructs Her Job Transfer.


Employee Files Lawsuit against West Penn Allegheny Health System for Age Discrimination

Jacqueline was hired as a nurse with West Penn Allegheny Health System in 2002. Twelve years later, 61-year-old Jacqueline was assigned to the West Penn Hospital. During that year, Jacqueline routinely took time off to care for her elderly parents. At one point, her father became seriously ill and ended up in the emergency room. Jacqueline asked her supervisor if she could have time off to care for her father, but her supervisor allegedly said that Jacqueline was “compromising the department” and couldn’t have time off. When Jacqueline pleaded with her supervisor for time off, her supervisor suggested applying for FMLA, but Jacqueline was denied. Jacqueline chose to use her vacation time to care for her parents.

Jacqueline shared how her coworkers made comments about Jacqueline not being at work to care for her parents while her supervisor allegedly told her that she was “not smiling enough.” When Jacqueline returned to work, she noticed that her supervisor and coworkers were treating her differently. Jacqueline shared how her coworkers made comments about Jacqueline not being at work to care for her parents while her supervisor allegedly told her that she was “not smiling enough.” Jacqueline thought that this treatment of her was callous since her brother had recently passed and many of her family members had been severely ill recently.

Her supervisor also placed Jacqueline on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) despite the fact that Jacqueline’s performance allegedly did not warrant a PIP. Jacqueline successfully completed the PIP, and her supervisor told her that she was doing a great job. But soon after, Jacqueline recalls that her supervisor began to criticize how she completed her charts, going so far as to print out the charts and point out the errors. Her supervisor never criticized younger nurses like this.

When Jacqueline received a job offer in another department of the hospital, she planned to accept. However, the job offer was allegedly retracted because of the negative comments Jacqueline’s supervisor made about her PIP. When Jacqueline’s supervisor accused her of failing to assist with injections, Jacqueline apologized, explaining that the charge nurse had given her permission to take her lunch break. Jacqueline couldn’t help but notice that she was the only nurse to be reprimanded, even though another younger nurse had not assisted with the injections either. Two days later, Jacqueline was terminated.

Jacqueline has concluded that age discrimination was in play since no younger nurses received the same treatment as she did when it came to chart errors and assisting with injections. Age discrimination is illegal. KM&A fights for the rights of employees like Jacqueline, who suffer discrimination due to their age.

Full text of this complaint, as filed with the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is available at docket no: 2:17-cv-01110-CB

Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC is an employment law firm with principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, serving all counties in Pennsylvania, focusing on employment law, business law, litigation, and civil issues. KM&A clients include employees, small businesses, parties in litigation, and people with a variety of legal issues.

For more information about this case, contact Attorney Martell Harris at 412-626-5585 or at or Attorney Danielle Parks at 412-626-5593 or at

NOTICE: All information contained in this statement comes from the Complaint which has been filed as a public record with the court. As dedicated civil rights attorneys, we strongly believe in the public value of telling our clients’ stories: violators can be held accountable, and other silent victims can feel empowered to stand up for their legal rights. Although we make every attempt to verify our clients’ claims, note that the defendant is expected to oppose our client’s position, and the court has not ruled one way or the other as of the date of this statement.