Former health center exec alleges gender discrimination

By David Yates | Nov 20, 2007

The former CEO for Gulf Coast Health Center Inc. has filed suit against the care provider, claiming she was fired because she is a female.

Mary Jo Stedry filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit in the Jefferson County District Court under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code.

According to the plaintiff's petition, Stedry was Gulf Coast Health's CEO for several years. On March 5, 2007, she "was fired from her position on the basis of her race, a female."

Race refers to ethnicity. Stedry's lawyer probably meant to say she was fired on the basis of her gender.

The Gulf Coast Health Center is a private, non-profit community based organization that provides affordable health care through locations in Jefferson, Orange, Hardin and Newton counties. The clinics are partially funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, donations and private foundations. Patients are offered service through a sliding fee scale.

"Prior to such termination, plaintiff was subjected to a hostile work environment, because of her sex," the suit said. "Defendant intentionally engaged in unlawful employment practices involving plaintiff because she is a female."

In her suit, Stedry alleges Gulf Coast Health discriminated against her "on the basis of sex with malice or with reckless indifference or with negligence to the state-protected rights of plaintiff."

"Defendant sexually harassed plaintiff, and created and maintained a hostile work environment, because of plaintiff's sex," the suit said.

The suit does not list any specific incidents of sexual discrimination.

Stedry is suing for exemplary damages, plus mental anguish, emotional pain, loss of benefits inconvenience and all court costs.

She is represented by attorney Steve Parkhurst of the Dies, Hart & Parkhurst law firm.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D180-770

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