Fayette County agency sued for firing worker
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A former employee of the Redevelopment Authority of Fayette County sued that agency and three of its managers Wednesday, claiming he was laid off because he blew the whistle on what he said was favoritism in a program for providing new furnaces.
In his complaint in U.S. District Court, Michael J. Volek of Point Marion said his job for the authority was to visit homes and decide whether they would benefit from weatherization aid.
In October 2011, according to the lawsuit, he complained to a Pennsylvania official that the authority "gave preferential treatment to friends and/or family members of [its] employees who were on the waiting list to receive assistance," including furnaces.
According to the complaint, that was followed by an investigation of the authority by the state office of inspector general. That office declined comment Thursday.
Mr. Volek was compelled in April to train his replacement and was laid off in May, ostensibly because of budget constraints, according to the complaint. The layoff was actually based on his exercise of free speech rights and thus violated federal law, it said.
Authority officials said they had not yet read the complaint and could not comment.
First Published November 3, 2012 12:00 am