01/10/2011 // West Palm Beach , Florida, US // Sandra Quinlan // Justice News Flash

Pittsburgh, PA—The UPMC Cancer Centers face pending civil rights litigation in connection with the 2009 termination of an employee who testified in a doctor’s case against the hospital. A Harrison woman filed the federal lawsuit on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, claiming she was fired as reprisal for her protected actions, as reported by the Valley News Dispatch.

According to a 5-page civil rights complaint, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hired Toni L. Zanandrea as an administrative coordinator in Dec. 2000.

While she apparently received positive performance reviews, she was told in Sept. 2009 that UPMC would be eliminating all administrative coordinator positions within the radiation oncology department due to a “reduction in force.”

The lawsuit claims Zanandrea was let go “immediately after UPMC was informed in a pretrial statement that Zanandrea would testify as an adverse witness at an upcoming trial.” Dr. Kristina Gerszten, who was a radiation oncologist for UPMC from 1992 to May 2007, brought on that particular case.

Gerszten alleged UPMC gave male doctors with less experience high-status job opportunities and promotions, while ignoring some more-experienced female counterparts.

Gerszten’s lawsuit also contended UPMC left it up to the administrator who she complained about to decide whether she would remain employed. In 2007, that unidentified administrator refused to renew or renegotiate Gerszten’s contact, prompting her to file suit.

Gerszten was awarded $3.1 million in damages related to claims that UPMC retaliated against her. The case was then settled and dismissed.

Zanandrea’s lawsuit claims that although she applied for other positions at UPMC, the medical center continued to retaliate against her for her role in Gerszten’s discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.

“After 10 years of dedicated, loyal and good service, she was terminated because she testified favorably in Dr. Gerszten’s case,” a civil rights attorney representing Zanandrea stated.

Zanandrea’s lawsuit seeks compensatory and exemplary damages, as well as back pay with interest, lost benefits and legal fees. She also seeks reinstatement to her position as an administrative coordinator for UPMC.

UPMC Cancer Centers would not comment on pending litigation.

Legal News Reporter: Justice News Flash – Legal News for Pennsylvania Civil Rights Lawyers.

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Url: Sandra Quinlan: West Palm Beach Injury News