CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County man has filed a suit against Verizon after he was fired for missing work due to his back injury.

Tommy Smith filed the suit April 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Verizon Services and Darlene Green Higginbotham.

According to the suit, Smith was hired to be a telemarketer at Verizon in August 1999. Prior to his employment, he injured his back in an on-the-job accident. Smith claims he suffered pain in his lower back after starting his job with Verizon. The pain required medical treatment, the suit says.

Smith claims he was diagnosed with herniated disks and spinal stenosis, which required him to miss work periodically.

On April 14, 2006, Smith was fired because of his absences. He claims his absences were due to his back injury, which is protected under the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

In the two-count suit, Smith seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Lonnie C. Simmons is representing Smith. The case has been assigned to Judge Charles King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-725

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