Allegheny County 911 dispatchers file discrimination suits
Three Allegheny County 911 dispatchers filed separate lawsuits in Common Pleas Court on Wednesday claiming their bosses discriminated against them.
Ruby Helvy, 47, of Marshall-Shadeland said her supervisors at the Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services in Point Breeze suspended her seven times for various reasons, including not being at her desk during a call and canceling a call, between January 2013 and last month.
Helvy, who is black, contends her bosses did not suspend non-minority co-workers “for similar transgressions.”
Another 911 dispatcher, Kelli Rodriguez, 34, of Verona said her training supervisor sexually harassed and discriminated against her because she is Hispanic. Rodriguez was fired Dec. 18, about three months after she was hired.
Rodriguez complained to County Council in January, spurring Councilman James Ellenbogen to call for an investigation into the treatment of employees at the dispatch center.
Ellenbogen late Wednesday said he did not know if county employees undertook an investigation, but would inquire Thursday. County Solicitor Andrew Szefi said he had not seen either lawsuit and declined to comment.
The third dispatcher, Dapree Thompson of Penn Hills, said she was a lead trainer for three years, but was not given anyone to train in that time.
Thompson, who is black, also said she was required to work overtime though non-minority employees were not.
Thompson, Helvy and Rodriguez, all of whom are represented by Downtown lawyer Joseph D. Pometto, are seeking back pay and emotional and punitive damages.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or [email protected].