Man claims threats at New Castle Area Transit Authority after he complained about smokers

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When Dale W. Doutt complained about smoking at his New Castle job, his pleas were ignored and he was subtly threatened, according to a lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court.

Mr. Doutt, 62, of West Middlesex, has been a mechanic with the New Castle Area Transit Authority for 10 years, according to the lawsuit. His complaint said he suffers from high blood pressure and sinus illness which are "disabling and seriously worsened by exposure to cigarette smoke for any period of time."

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Doutt began complaining about workplace smoking by a foreman and co-workers in 2008, citing the agency's official, but widely ignored, no-smoking policy.

He later filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission but the agency did not set up the smoke-free area he requested, according to the lawsuit.

In retaliation, supervisors yelled at Mr. Doutt and "fabricated" criticisms of his work, according to the complaint. A co-worker said he would "take care of" Mr. Doutt "in a threatening manner," he alleged.

Citing the Americans with Disabilities Act and several other federal and state laws, Mr. Doutt seeks compensation for lost wages, humiliation, loss of self esteem and legal costs.

Neither the transit agency's director nor its solicitor could be immediately reached for comment.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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