WHEELING – Two Ohio County men are suing over claims they were falsely accused of theft by their employer then unlawfully discharged.

Richard L. Hamilton Jr. and Kerry Neal filed a lawsuit Aug. 1 in Ohio Circuit Court against Environmental Protection Services Inc. of Wheeling, and Kurt Speaker, citing wrongful discharge.

According to the complaint, Hamilton and Neal were employed by EPS taking apart and transporting transformers when, on Aug. 10, 2012, they performed work under a supervisor Frey at Duke Energy Power Plant in Charlotte, N.C.

Speaker, another supervisor, allegedly required them to lie about the company they worked for and even gave them fake uniforms.

The complaint states on Aug. 11, 2012, Hamilton and Neal were in a company truck when Frey drove it to a salvage yard and told them to unload copper and brass from the truck. The plaintiffs say they suspected he was going to make an improper sale, so they confronted him, and he loaded the materials back into the truck.

The complaint states on Aug. 15, 2012, Hamilton and Neal were at a South Carolina job site when Speaker notified them they would have to pick Frey up from Charlotte and rented them a car. The plaintiffs say when they reached the plant in Charlotte, law enforcement officers were waiting to arrest them and charged them with intent to steal or defraud EPS from copper or brass.

According to the suit, Speaker suspended the plaintiffs on Aug. 21, 2012, but all charges were dismissed in September. In November, Frey was convicted of stealing cooper and brass on Aug. 10, 2012. The plaintiffs say Speaker terminated their employment on Dec. 4, 2012.

Speaker is accused of fraud and deceit in lying to Hamilton and Neal to get them to Charlotte, knowing they would be arrested on charges for which he had no evidence. The defendants also are accused of outrageous conduct, intentional or reckless infliction of severe emotional distress, personal injury and wrongful discharge.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages, interest and court costs. They are represented by attorney Ronald William Kasserman of Kasserman Law Offices in Wheeling. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Martin J. Gaughan.

Ohio Circuit Court case number 14-C-226

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