The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 18, 2013

Fired sex-jester jail guards may get jobs back

— MIDDLEBURG — The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that two fired Snyder County Prison guards were wrongly terminated for sexual harassment and should be reinstated with back pay.

Heather Rohrbach and William Griffiths were fired in February 2012 for sexually harassing a female nurse working in the Selinsgrove lockup about a love note the nurse had received from an inmate.

Rohrbach, a seven-year jail employee, and Griffiths, a four-year worker, filed a grievance through the Teamsters Local 764 denying any improper conduct.

An arbitrator ruled in June 2012 that the conduct of the guards was not sexual harassment, but sexual banter that occurred only in the presence of prison workers on a single day in January 2012.

The county appealed to vacate the arbitrator’s award that reinstated the two guards with back pay.

Arguing before Clinton County Senior Judge Richard Saxton, who was appointed after Snyder County judges recused themselves from hearing the case, the county’s labor attorney said prison officials were required under Affirmative Action to discipline the two guards for engaging in sexual innuendo in the workplace.

The Teamsters said the county overstated the case.

Saxton ruled in favor of the county, vacating the arbitrator’s award and upholding the terminations of Rohrbach and Griffiths.

Trial court ruling reversed

The union appealed the decision to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, which reversed the trial court’s ruling and upheld the arbitrator’s ruling.

“The critical issue here, therefore, is whether the conduct constitutes sexual harassment. It does not,” the 14-page opinion issued by the three-member panel said. “For conduct of nonsupervisor co-workers to constitute sexual harassment, it must be so severe or pervasive that it creates an abusive working environment. Simple teasing, off-hand comments and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) do not constitute sexual harassment.”

The latest court opinion may not end put an end to the dispute.

Prison board chairman Malcolm Derk said he will discuss whether to pursue an appeal with fellow commissioners Joe Kantz and Peggy Chamberlain Roup and solicitor Robert Cravitz next week.

The county could decide to let the ruling stand and allow the former guards to return to their jobs or request the issue be reviewed again by the full nine-member panel of the Commonwealth Court or the state Supreme Court.

n Email comments to

Text Only
  • milehill16a.jpg SUV tumbles down hill, trapping driver

    SUNBURY — A driver was injured Tuesday night when his SUV careened off Mile Hill Road and down a steep 20-foot embankment, knocking over trees until it crashed and twisted around a large tree trunk.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DEA packet compares school scores, salaries

    DANVLLE — Members of the Danville Education Association are circulating a pamphlet as part of their planned strike on Thursday.

    Click Here to see the pamphlet

    April 16, 2014

  • Snyder DA says email security breach could be a crime

    MIDDLEBURG — Even though acting Midd-West Superintendent Daphne Snook may not have broken school policy by monitoring district emails, Valley legal experts say she still may have broken the law.

    April 16, 2014

  • Midd-West board feels backlash

    April 16, 2014

  • Good Morning Central Susquehanna Valley

    Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year. On April 16, 1964, The Rolling Stones’ first album, eponymously titled “The Rolling Stones,” was released in the United Kingdom by Decca Records (a slightly different version debuted in the United States a month and a-half later).

    April 16, 2014

  • Donkey basketball draws 600, raises $1,800

    SUNBURY — The Shikellamy Fieldhouse was loud and rocking Tuesday night as Shikellamy High School students took on the Valley All-Stars in a donkey basketball fundraiser to benefit Newspapers in Education.

    April 15, 2014

  • mail16a.jpg Post Offices busy just before today's tax deadline

    SUNBURY — Bill Shambach plopped his three envelopes addressed to tax collectors on the counter of the Post Office on North Third Street at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon — four hours before the office closed for the day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guzzardi_Bob.png Governor's Republican opponent remains on primary ballot

    HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania state judge has ruled that a Republican gubernatorial candidate can stay on the May 20 primary ballot as the lone challenger to Gov. Tom Corbett.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspect in Kansas shootings faces murder charges

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas prosecutors filed state-level murder charges Tuesday against the white supremacist accused in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.

    April 15, 2014

  • Woman found in attic dies following house fire

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — Authorities in northeastern Pennsylvania say fire claimed the life of a woman overnight.
    Officials in Luzerne County say crews were called to the Wilkes-Barre residence just before 11:30 p.m. Monday.

    April 15, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Are you among those who will be completing and mailing your tax forms today?

No - Already Filed
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.