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Lancaster County company refused to hire racial minorities, lawsuit alleges

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A fired manager at a Lancaster County insulation supplier is suing his former employer, saying he lost his job for no other reason than his refusal to fire a black employee.

Human resources manager Christopher Shaffer's firing was part of a pattern of discrimination at Appalachian Insulation Supply Inc., the lawsuit alleges, and indicative of CEO William Brinser Jr.'s refusal to hire racial minorities.

Shaffer filed the suit Oct. 6 in Pennsylvania's Eastern District Court. He is seeking $400,000 in compensation and $50,000 in back pay, among other damages.

"The company adamantly denies Mr. Shaffer's allegations," said Marc Witzig, general counsel for Appalachian Insulation Supply. "We will vigorously defend against this lawsuit, and we expect to prevail."

Appalachian Insulation Supply is a privately held company headquartered in West Donegal Township, near Elizabethtown. The business sells insulation and related products for residential and commercial buildings and has six satellite locations along the East Coast, according to its website.

Brinser's refusal to hire people of color was well know among the company's management, the suit alleges, and Brinser himself more than once used racial slurs in saying that nonwhite employees were not welcome at his company. Shaffer attempted at one point to hire a black dispatcher but "was rebuffed," the suit states.

Shaffer hired another black man as a driver in December 2015. Brinser soon told Shaffer to fire the new hire, which he refused to do, the suit states. Brinser then fired Shaffer.

"There was no purpose in firing (the driver) at that point, other than the color of his skin," the suit states.

Shaffer is suing Appalachian Insulation Supply on the grounds that the company violated state and federal anti-discrimination laws when it fired him. Mark Weaver of State College-based Mazza Law Group is representing Shaffer in the case.

The story has been updated with comment from Marc Witzig, general counsel for Appalachian Insulation Supply Inc.

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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Deb C. October 18, 2017 9:31 am

I believe that there is a lot more to this story, other than what Mr. Shaffer is saying.

An anonymous reader October 17, 2017 12:52 pm

Based on some web search...this isn't a very big company maybe 40 people...and also it looks like William Brinser, Jr. owns Wolfpak Transport as well. Marc Witzig is a experienced lawyer and is an employee of Appalachian. They have a list court cases in the surrounding counties on the local prothonotary websites. Just sounds and looks like this company has a lot problems. This cases come and go but the confederate flag in their company logo probably wont help among the public.

David Brent October 17, 2017 11:36 am

Kudos to Mr. Shaffer for being a stand-up human being. It's a shame there are giant turds like William Brinser Jr. Hopefully Shaffer wins the case and no one gives Appalachian Insulation Supply any more business.