MORGANTOWN -- A Charleston company is seeking a removal to federal court after an ex-employee filed an ageism complaint against it.
UBC Product Support Center Inc. and United BioSource Corporation (together known as UBC) do business in Morgantown, and Charles Clark, Debbie Lee, Charlotte Sturba, Amy Renner, and Stephanie Van Norman are all Monongalia County residents as well as Barbara Henry's employers.
Barbara Henry, age 61, worked as a Mail Coordinator at UBC from May 2000 until June 15, 2007, and both she and her husband, Bill, age 64, are disabled. At some point in early 2007, Henry's work environment became very hostile.
Filed on Jan. 25 by Drew Capuder of the Fairmont firm of Capuder Fantasia, Henry's suit states that Clark, Lee, Sturba, Renner, and Norman, all in their early 30s, harassed her so frequently and intensely about her and her husband's ages and disabilities that she became certain she would be fired at any time. On June 25, 2007, she was summoned to a meeting with Lee, Norman, and Sturba, who made false allegations against her and insisted that she sign a warning document that included a threat of termination. The meeting became very heated, and comments made during it were so ugly and threatening that Henry actually had chest pain. She refused to sign the warning document, tore it quietly in two, and quit. She was then replaced by a much younger man. She was seeking punitive, compensatory, and actual damages, attorney's fees, expenses, and expert witness fees, and reinstatement for wrongful discharge and violations of the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
Filed by David Morrison of the Clarksburg office of Steptoe & Johnson on June, 9, UBC and Sturba, as the other named defendants could not be reached, are seeking a removal to the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia because the retirement plan to which Henry and her husband belonged prohibits any person from discharging or discriminating against its participants for exercising rights entitled to them under the plan.
These rights include any medical care Henry may have incurred from both she and her husband being disabled. The plan also states that federal district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over claims arising from the plan, and so, Henry's lawsuit is being removed.