Local nonprofit facing disability discrimination lawsuit, allegations of toxic work environment

Discrimination lawsuit filed against The Center for Victims

PITTSBURGH — A four-decade employee is suing the Center for Victims over disability discrimination.

The federal lawsuit was filed by Deborah McManus, who worked for the center for 42 years.

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McManus was in a car crash in 2010 that left her with post-concussion syndrome, nerve damage and severe migraines.

For seven years, she had an arrangement to work partially from home.

But McManus said Center for Victims CEO Laurie MacDonald ended that in February 2018, claiming it’s unfair for the other workers and she would have to retire, go on disability, or become a contractor.

Days later, she was mailed a termination letter.

“She committed her entire adult life, her entire career to serving these victims. She was just brushed aside with a phone call,” said McManus’ attorney Vincent Mersich.

When reached by phone, MacDonald declined to comment citing ongoing litigation.

Mersich said the two sides failed to reach an agreement during mediation and the case will move forward to discovery and possibly a jury trial.

Unrelated to the lawsuit, the Center for Victims Board of Directors received an anonymous letter from current and former employees this week claiming a toxic work environment, including allegations of disparaging remarks made by management about race, religion and sexual orientation.

Current and former employees also confirmed to Channel 11 the authenticity of the letter and echoed the allegations it contained.

When asked directly about the allegations, MacDonald declined to comment on “anonymous letters that have no basis in fact.”

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