Colonial Regional Police Sued for Age Discrimination
Barbara Hoell, 61, of Lower Nazareth Township, has sued the Colonial Regional Police Department, alleging age discrimination, intimidation and retaliation.
A receptionist for the Colonial Regional Police Department alleges she was forced to resign after Chief Roy Seiple intimidated and retaliated against her for filing an age discrimination claim, according to a federal lawsuit.
Barbara Hoell, 61, of Lower Nazareth Township, sued the department in December, claiming she was repeatedly denied “adequate” raises, promotion and advancement opportunities, overtime and health insurance.
Hoell, who worked for the department since 2003, claims her younger colleagues were provided raises that “far exceed” her own.
According to the lawsuit, Hoell asked in October 2009 if she would be eligible for health insurance benefits, and Seiple said it was not going to happen because it would cost the department $16,000 a year.
At the same time, Hoell claims, she was overlooked for the position of administrative assistant. Seiple instead selected a “significantly younger” woman who was hired from outside the department, according to the suit.
When Hoell asked why she was not considered for the position, the lawsuit says, Seiple explained he needed someone who was more “computer savvy.” Hoell said she has the same computer skills as the new hire.
After filing a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in November 2011, Hoell alleges repeated intimidation, which included Seiple waving EEOC documents in front of her face and “asking her aggressively if she needed a copy.”
In December 2012 the age discrimination claim led to a lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. Soon after, the lawsuit says, Hoell received an “Interdepartmental Memo” that listed eight items identifying her alleged failings, errors and unsatisfactory performance and behavior.
During a 45-minutes disciplinary hearing on Jan. 25—Hoell said her attorney was not allowed to attend—Seiple yelled and accused Hoell of, among other things, being rude and discourteous, the suit says.
Hoell resigned from her job three days later. She said in the lawsuit she was forced to resign because Seiple had humiliated, embarrassed and intimidated her.
Hoell is seeking compensation for lost wages and emotional distress as well as attorney fees and costs.