Judge dismisses discrimination complaint by former Pittsburgh police officer

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Neither the city of Pittsburgh nor Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1 discriminated against a former officer after she settled a discrimination claim, a federal judge ruled late Monday.

Cathy Thomas-Taylor, who is African-American, sued the city and the union last year, claiming that the former interfered with her pension in retaliation for her discrimination claim and the latter failed to pursue her grievance.

U.S. District Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti wrote that Ms. Thomas-Taylor started working for the bureau in 1989, and in 2001 and 2002 suffered work-related back injuries.

In 2008, Ms. Thomas-Taylor filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the city, claiming she wasn't given shift selections and pass days that were due to her based on her seniority. The city settled the claim for $95,000, and in late 2010 Ms. Thomas-Taylor signed an agreement that required her to resign by February 2011, the judge wrote.

Before the settlement agreement was signed, the city successfully challenged Ms. Thomas-Taylor’s right to ongoing Heart and Lung Act benefits. The city also denied her a disability pension and found her ineligible for a full pension because she hadn't made 20 years of pension contributions, the judge found.

Judge Conti ruled that all of the claims Ms. Thomas-Taylor raised in her 2013 lawsuit stemmed from actions the city took before the 2010 settlement was finalized. Her settlement agreement barred the new claims, the judge found, in dismissing the lawsuit.

The judge also found no strong evidence that the FOP breached its contract to represent Ms. Thomas-Taylor when it declined to file a grievance she sought.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter @richelord


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