PHILADELPHIA, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Feldman Shepherd attorney Peter M. Newman filed a lawsuit on March 25, 2019, as co-counsel with the Public Interest Law Center against Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on behalf of a job applicant who was turned away from two caseworker positions after the county learned that she had two old misdemeanor convictions in her past.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 56-year-old Kara Gannon in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, contends that the county violated Pennsylvania's Criminal History Record Information Act.
Gannon had years of experience in social services, but was turned away from the positions — in one instance after a start date was set — after the county learned of her convictions from eight and 10 years ago that were completely unrelated to the positions.
The convictions arose from Gannon's past struggle with alcoholism, and she was upfront with the county about her criminal record.
Gannon has been sober for many years and is in long-term recovery. She provided the county with a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services demonstrating that her record did not prohibit hire for the position.
Gannon's qualifications included a psychology degree, a certification in drug and alcohol counseling, and experience as a case manager for families of children with severe social, emotional and behavioral disorders.
"An insignificant misdemeanor should not disqualify someone like our client from employment so many years later, particularly where her resume and references demonstrate that she turned her life around and obtained a college degree. We must break down barriers to employment faced by people with insignificant convictions in their past," Newman said.
"Our client was well-qualified to serve as a caseworker for Montgomery County — and the county agreed," added Public Interest Law Center staff attorney Claudia De Palma. "For the county to nevertheless bar her from employment based on old convictions that have nothing to do with her suitability for the job is not only unfair, it is unlawful. We hope that this case will lead more employers to adhere to the laws that protect job applicants like our client from discrimination based on mistakes that they have long-since paid for," De Palma said.
Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP has handled cases producing some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and many other states around the country. The firm represents plaintiffs in significant personal injury, class action, and other complex civil litigation. Clients include victims of medical malpractice, birth injury, defective products, unsafe workplaces, motor vehicle accidents, legal malpractice, and insurer misconduct.
SOURCE Feldman Shepherd