Former Lancaster County employee files whistleblower suit

Cris Collingwood//June 29, 2022

Former Lancaster County employee files whistleblower suit

Cris Collingwood//June 29, 2022

A former Lancaster County employee, who claims to have been fired for refusing to destroy investigation notes against two employees she wanted to fire over racial discrimination, has filed a suit in federal court under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

New Jersey Attorney Derek Demeri, Zeff Law Firm, said Cathy Rychalsky – the former executive director of the Lancaster County Workforce Development Boad (LCWDB) — was fired after investigating and reporting allegations of racial discrimination among her staff. Rychalsky is listed as Cathy Carl in the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Pennsylvania Eastern District of June 23.

The suit was filed against LCWDB and the County of Lancaster.

According to the suit, Rychalsky was fired for not dropping the investigation into racial discrimination of an employee and refusing to destroy her findings after the head of the county Workforce Development Board told her to do so.

Demeri said Rychalsky was on administrative leave for conducting the investigation in the first place.

The suit says that in September 2021, Rychalsky began the investigation into allegations that an employee was being racially discriminated against by two white employees.

In January of this year, she reported the findings to the board and said she planned to terminate the two employees. The result, the suit says, is Rychalsky was placed on administrative leave for “acting recklessly.”

After several rounds of negotiations, Rychalsky offered to resign in May and help with the transition between executive directors, the suit says. According to the filing, LCWDB would not accept her resignation unless she destroyed her notes and, in February, she was terminated after refusing to do so.

Demeri said the suit is a whistleblower case alleging First Amendment retaliation and violations of the Human Retaliation Act.

In addition, Rychalsky is looking for damages for wage discrimination. The suit says she was paid less than what the LCWDB paid a male employee who was hired to fill her position.