No. 135 March Term, 1978, Appeal from the Decree dated May 26, 1978 and entered June 30, 1978 from the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County at No. 1977-2227, Civil Action-Equity
Robert E. Thomas, Kaminsky, Kelly & Wharton, Johnstown, for appellant.
Richard T. Williams, Sr., Windber, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the decision of this case.
Appellant filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, sounding in equity and alleging a violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act*fn1 in that she was unlawfully discriminated against, based on her sex, by her former employer. In response to the complaint, appellee filed preliminary objections raising inter alia, the jurisdiction
of the court. On May 26, 1978, the learned Chancellor sustained the objections and dismissed the complaint. The instant appeal to this Court from the May 26, 1978 order was taken pursuant to former Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act of 1970, section 202(4); Act 1970, July 31, P.L. 673, No. 223, art. II, § 202(4); 17 P.S. 211.202(4) (Supp.1978-79).*fn2
The issue in this appeal is a very narrow one. The question is whether appellant's initial election to seek redress under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA),*fn3 divested jurisdiction of a court in equity to entertain the complaint subsequently filed by appellant. The learned Chancellor answered this question in the affirmative. We agree and now affirm the decree of the court below.
In her complaint, appellant asserts that while she was employed as a school bus driver she became pregnant and, because of complications, she was ordered by her doctor to stop work until after the birth of the child. When she notified her company that she was physically able to return to work, she was refused employment. She contends that her treatment was contrary to situations where male employees, serving in the same or a similar capacity, returned after a protracted illness. It was admitted by appellant that before instituting the instant complaint, she had filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The action before the PHRC was terminated after an investigation at appellant's request in deference to
a proceeding before the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission,*fn4 ...