CHARLESTON – A correctional officer at Mt. Olive Correctional Center says that after a run-in with the warden's wife, he's been discriminated against.

Robert E. Rhodes filed a lawsuit March 31 in Kanawha Circuit Court against state Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein, Mt. Olive Warden David Ballard and the West Virginia Division of Corrections.

Rhodes says he started working at Mt. Olive as a correctional officer on Dec. 1, 1994. Rhodes says he started as a level 4 officer and has moved up to a level 7 due to his satisfactory performance.

On Sept. 1, 2007, Ballard became the warden of the maximum security prison in Fayette County, the complaint says.

Prior to Ballard's becoming the warden, Rhodes claims that he had had an issue with Jennifer Ballard, the warden's wife, who was at the time an associate warden of programs.

On June 18, 2008, Rhodes claims he got a memo from Ballard advising that his position would now be considered overtime exempt and that he would no longer be paid overtime wages for hours worked over 40 per week.

On July 29, 2008, Rhodes says Ballard assigned him to serve on a security audit team and now he is regularly required to work more than 40 hours a week.

Rhodes alleges that Ballard's actions are discriminatory and harassing. He's seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Wesley Queen is representing the plaintiff. The case is before Kanawha Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-578

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