A former chief executive says a Pittsburgh banking company fired him for trying to eliminate racial and sex discrimination.
In a lawsuit, David O. Tritsch said Allegheny Valley Bancorp's board blocked his attempts to promote women and African-Americans.
Mr. Tritsch also accused unnamed directors of using racial epithets to describe African-American employees and customers.
Also, his suit asserts, board members "demanded information regarding female employees' marital status, number of children, and their husband's occupation when determining salaries."
In documents filed April 8 in U.S. District Court, he assserts that in reviewing salaries he saw that female employees "were generally paid substantially less than their male counterparts." Mr. Tritsch also said female employees complained to him about the unequal pay.
At a meeting last April 30, Mr. Tritsch said in the complaint, he confronted the board about discrimination, advising it to hire legal counsel to review their employment practices. Shortly afterward, he was fired.
Mr. Tritsch was president and CEO of the $235 million-asset company for two years.
He is suing for reinstatement and the pay and other compensation he would have earned since he was fired last May, as well as "appropriate compensatory damages."
Gerard Kunic, who was hired as Allegheny Valley's president and chief executive officer in December, said he could not comment on pending litigation. He did, however, tell a local paper that Mr. Tritsch was fired because of "philosophical differences," and that the bank intends to fight the suit.
Mr. Tritsch could not be reached for comment. His attorney would not commment beyond what was stated in the complaint.
The lawsuit is the Allegheny board's second skirmish this year with a former CEO.
In March, George F. Pendro, Mr. Tritsch's predecessor and still an Allegheny shareholder, introduced a proposal to force the bank to sell.
Mr. Pendro, who was chief executive for 20 years, did not mention discrimination in his solicitation to shareholders. He called for the sale of the company, saying he was disappointed with its performance and worried that it could not survive an economic downturn.
That proposal was defeated by a four-to-one ratio at the company's annual meeting last week, according to Allegheny Valley officials. Shareholders also voted down a proposal by Mr. Tritsch that would have limited compensation to outside directors.