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Pittsburgh Glass Works ordered to pay in age discrimination case

Post Time:Jan 28,2016Classify:Company NewsView:346

A federal court jury has found that Pittsburgh Glass Works retaliated against a former employee who planned to sue over age discrimination and has ordered the company to pay him more than $900,000 in lost wages and benefits.

In a verdict returned in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh last week, the jury said PGW willfully violated federal age discrimination laws in 2010 when it fired Rudolph Karlo of Creighton, a former engineering specialist and production line supervisor who worked for PGW and its predecessor company, PPG Industries, for more than three decades at facilities in Harmar and East Deer.

PGW, based on the North Side, was created in 2008 when PPG spun off 60 percent ownership in its auto glass business to investment firm Kohlberg & Co. PPG still owns 40 percent of the company.

Mr. Karlo, 58, was one of about 100 workers terminated in March 2009 as part of a companywide workforce reduction after Pittsburgh Glass Works began managing the business.

He and six other men — all in their 50s at the time — later filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a federal lawsuit claiming age discrimination.

They claimed they had excellent records with PPG but were told their positions were being eliminated after PGW “began populating the production facilities with younger, less experienced workers, who were provided with minimal training.”

“The more seasoned employees found themselves being marginalized,” the lawsuit said.

Mr. Karlo’s charge of retaliation stems from PGW rehiring him in September 2009 through a subcontractor to work at its plant in East Deer as a shift maintenance supervisor. In February 2010, he began supervising a production line for windshield glass.

Several months later, according to court documents, a manager at PGW told Mr. Karlo he would be considered for a full-time position with the company if he would “make the whole thing go away” — a reference to the age discrimination case.

He was fired several weeks later.

The jury last week found PGW intentionally retaliated against Mr. Karlo by firing him when he declined to drop the EEOC charges.

Because PGW “willfully violated the law,” the court’s judgment said, the company was responsible for double the damages due for lost wages.

He will receive $922,060 and is eligible to recover attorney fees, the court said.

PGW and its attorney were unavailable for comment.

“I feel great,” Mr. Karlo said Wednesday. “Hopefully [PGW] won’t try this on anybody else. It was long and very trying. It’s been hard on everybody in my family.”

Mr. Karlo, who now works at Oakmont Country Club in facilities maintenance, was hired by PPG in 1978 and received a series of promotions before becoming a senior engineering specialist in 2001 — the job he held when the business became Pittsburgh Glass Works.

According to court documents, he helped develop eight shared patents for PPG glass processes and received consistently positive performance reviews before the company transitioned to PGW.

Last year, PGW won a summary judgment on the age discrimination case but five of the original plaintiffs, including Mr. Karlo, have appealed that ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Joyce Gannon:

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplAuthor: shangyi

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