Chesco D.A. sued for age discrimination

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Two former prosecutors claim no other basis existed for termination

Updated at 8 p.m. with comment from county solicitor

By Kathleen Brady SheaManaging Editor, The Times

TomHogan

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

Two former Chester County prosecutors allege that their termination after a new district attorney took office constituted age discrimination.

In a suit filed Wednesday in federal court, Edward J. Gallen and Robert L. Miller, who are represented by John A. Gallagher, contend that Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan violated the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 on Jan. 12, 2012. On that date, Hogan terminated Gallen, who was 65, Miller, who was 57, and two of their over-50 colleagues, the suit said.

The suit said the four terminated employees were replaced by  less experienced lawyers who were “more than seven years younger.” Gallen and Miller, whose collective experience exceeded three decades, had established records of diligence and success “unblemished by any disciplinary action,” the suit said.

“Given my clients’ tenure and achievements prior to their termination, the other terminations of other older employees carried out by the D.A. in January 2012 … and the age of the replacement employees, we have surmised that the only possible explanation for their terminations was age-based animus,” said Gallagher.  “We expect to prove that in court.”

Hogan referred any comment to Thomas L. Whiteman, the county’s solicitor. Whiteman confirmed receipt of the complaints on Wednesday afternoon but said county policy precludes him from commenting on “matters of pending litigation.”

According to the suit, Gallen, who worked in the office from July 2000 to Jan. 12, 2000, primarily handled juvenile prosecutions, which, considering the Luzerne County “Kids for Cash” scandal, “should be viewed as a specialty where experience and excellence is required.”  The suit said Miller, employed from January 1988 to Jan. 12, 2012, was promoted in 2003 to deputy district attorney, due to “his exemplary work and ability to work cooperatively.”

Neither plaintiff received advance notice of the termination “without cause,” which occurred 10 days after Hogan took office, the suit said. In addition, they were not offered an opportunity to take another position or “to resolve any perceived problems,” the suit said.

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