Former Counselor Aide Alleged Understaffing, Age Discrimination at Fairmount; Case Settled

A former Counselor Aide filed a lawsuit against Fairmount Behavioral Health System, alleging the facility discriminated against its employees on the basis of age. He alleged that after a new Chemical Dependency Program director was hired in late 2012, older members of the program staff were terminated without reason and were “replaced by significantly younger and less qualified individuals.” He also alleged that the facility understaffed its therapy sessions. According to his complaint, “Under the law, including but not limited to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Chapter 704, Defendant must maintain a staffing ratio with regard to Counselor Aides of, at most, 1 staff to every 8 clients.” Despite these regulations, he claims, on May 16, 2013, he was the sole staff member moderating a drug/alcohol dependency meeting session with approximately 40 clients. Many of the clients were ex-convicts being treated on an involuntary basis due to an administrative or court order. He alleges that he was wrongfully terminated after two clients got into a physical altercation at this May meeting. He claims that he was fired due to his age rather than “any legitimate business reasons” and was “subsequently replaced by a less qualified individual.” The case settled May 29, 2015.