PRINCETON – A Princeton County woman is suing over claims she was wrongfully terminated from her job after seeking workers' compensation benefits.

Shawna Richelle Blankenship filed a lawsuit Dec. 15 in Mercer Circuit Court against Princeton Memorial Company, citing workers' compensation discrimination.

According to the complaint, Blankenship sustained an injury while working as a certified nursing assistant for the defendant in late October 2013 and applied for workers' compensation. Blankenship says she originally returned to work on a light duty basis but the defendant informed her shortly after that it could no longer provide the light duty position, so Blankenship began receiving temporary total disability benefits. The complaint states Blankenship was released to return to work in December 2013, but the defendant never placed her on the schedule.

The lawsuit states Blankenship inquired on Dec. 31, 2013, as to when she would be allowed to return to work, but Princeton Memorial Company informed her she'd been placed on the schedule two weeks earlier and terminated for failure to show, which Blankenship says was only a pretext for terminating her. The defendant is accused of wrongful discharge - workers' compensation discrimination and disability discrimination.

Blankenship seeks compensatory and punitive damages including back pay and benefits, reinstatement or front pay and attorney fees.

She is represented by attorneys Stephen B. Farmer and Matthew H. Nelson of Farmer, Cline & Campbell in Morgantown. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Omar J. Aboulhosn.

Mercer County Court case number: 14-C-613-OA

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