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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. TRANSIT CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY (04/28/78)

decided: April 28, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION, APPELLEE,
v.
TRANSIT CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT



No. 1 May Term 1977, Appeal from Order of the Commonwealth Court at No. 1154 C.D. 1974, affirming as modified the order of the Human Relations Commission at E-3804.

COUNSEL

Robert P. Reed, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Elisabeth S. Shuster, Pa. Human Relations Com., Harrisburg, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 478 Pa. Page 432]

OPINION

This is an appeal from an order of the Commonwealth Court, affirming in part an order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (Commission) directed against Transit Casualty Insurance Company (Transit).

Transit, by its sales and underwriting agent, Markel Service, Inc. (Markel), had issued commercial motor vehicle liability insurance to Beverage Transportation, Inc. (Beverage), effective from February 18, 1970, to February 18, 1972. Nettie M. Renoll, employed by Beverage as a vehicle driver, was involved in an accident on March 18, 1970, during the period of Transit's insurance coverage, while driving a vehicle of Beverage. Markel notified Beverage that Renoll's insurance coverage would terminate on July 10, 1970, and that she should be relieved of all driving duties by that date. As a result, Renoll's employment with Beverage was terminated on July 10, 1970.

[ 478 Pa. Page 433]

Renoll filed a complaint with the Commission alleging Beverage had discharged her due to her sex. In two amended complaints Renoll named Transit as a respondent and charged Transit with violating Section 5(e) of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act,*fn1 which makes it unlawful

"(e) For any person, whether or not an employer, employment agency, labor organization or employe, to aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of any act declared by this section to be an unlawful discriminatory practice, or to obstruct or prevent any person from complying with the provisions of this act or any order issued thereunder, or to attempt, directly or indirectly, to commit any act declared by this section to be an unlawful discriminatory practice."

Section 5(a) of the Act, 43 P.S. ยง 955(a), makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for any employer to discharge an employee because of that person's sex.

In March, 1972, after its policy with Transit was terminated, Beverage rehired Renoll as a truck driver. Renoll's complaint against Beverage was then withdrawn.

On October 15, 1973, the Commission conducted hearings on Renoll's complaint against Transit. On July 29, 1974, the Commission concluded that Transit, through its agent Markel, had withdrawn insurance coverage for Renoll because of her sex and that Transit's conduct "coerced and compelled Beverage to discharge Renoll." Transit was ordered to cease and desist from such activities and to pay Renoll damages of $12,147.03 with interest for lost pay from July 10, 1970, through February 18, 1972.

Transit filed an appeal in the Commonwealth Court which affirmed the Commission's order but modified the amount of the award to $11,499.49 ...


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