PGW Denies Age Discrimination Claims; Files Counterclaim Against Plaintiffs
December 7, 2010

Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) has denied the claims made against it in an October age discrimination suit and has filed a counterclaim against the plaintiffs. The original suit was filed by seven employees who allege they were let go in March 2009 because of their ages, which ranged at the time between 52 and 58.

Within its answer to the original suit, PGW attributes the March 2009 layoffs to “an unprecedented downturn in the world economy … ”

“… Based on the prospect that the ‘Big Three’ U.S. car manufacturers (some of PGW’s largest customers) were in serious danger of going into bankruptcy or completely ceasing to do business, PGW was forced to take decisive action to maintain the financial viability of the company and preserve as many jobs as it could,” writes the company. “As a result, PGW was unfortunately forced to undertake a reduction in force … ”

The company claims that all of the employees involved in the suit were offered a severance payment at the time of their termination and that they “knowingly and voluntarily executed valid and enforceable ‘Separation Agreement[s] and Release[s] that provided that each of them would receive severance benefits and payments to which they otherwise were not entitled in exchange for releases of any claims against PGW.” Severance payments ranged across the named employees from $19,218 to $90,948.54.

PGW goes on to allege that the suit filed is a breach of the employees’ contractual obligations with the company, and claims they are liable for “compensatory damages equal to the consideration PGW paid them in exchange for enforceable promises and releases.”

PGW is represented by Cohen and Grigsby P.C. in Pittsburgh.

At press time, the plaintiffs had not yet responded to the counterclaim.

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