Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

PTA employee claims boss's treatment led to heart attack

A 30-year-veteran of the Pennsylvania Transit Authority (PTA) is taking his employer to federal court for alleged abuse by a boss. According to reports, the $150,000 lawsuit claims that a worker's boss created a stressful work environment where he was continually bullied, which ultimately led to a heart attack in 2017. The man, who is of Indian descent, also claims that his boss discriminated against him because of his race.

The employee joined the PTA's Business Division in May of 2016 as a disadvantaged business enterprise manager. He reported to the disadvantaged business enterprise director. The suit claims that the director's aggressive style included loud outbursts. For example, when the employee suggested hiring a data analyst, the boss's alleged response was to scream at the employee so aggressively that the employee feared that he would be physically attacked.

Complaints met with punishment and indifference

The worker then complained about his treatment. The response was to transfer him to a seldom-used warehouse office with no windows or heat. This response left the employee even more isolated. The lawsuit also alleges that the PTA failed to respond to the initial complaint or the punishment.

Stress in the workplace

There are many people with stressful jobs and even some who would claim to have an abusive boss. Unfortunately, the connection between stress and cardio health and other physical issues is well documented in medical journals, as is stress's impact on a person's mental health, which can lead to anxiety or depression.

Hard charging or abusive?

There are two sides to every story. Many demanding employers feel that they are simply trying to get things done or even survive in a challenging economic landscape. However, creating a toxic work environment can lead to variety of problems where it may be hard to retain good employees, cause a high rate of absenteeism, lead to a low employee morale and other issues.

Along with the treatment of the employee, another issue is the PTA's response or lack thereof. A rogue director is still overseen by others, and all companies need to take all employee grievances seriously. It is unclear what the employee's medical history is, but abuse and stress certainly could exacerbate one's health.

Workers do have rights

Employees injured on the job or treated in a manifestly abnormal manner would be wise to seek legal counsel. An attorney with business law and employment law experience here in Pennsylvania can help protect a worker's rights, whether the problem is an abusive boss, unsafe work conditions, or a work injury.

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