WHEELING – A Wheeling woman is suing the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles after she claims her employment was wrongfully terminated and she was discriminated against.

Jennifer Gramlich was employed by the defendant for nine years as a customer service representative lead and working in the Moundsville and Wheeling offices, according to a complaint filed Jan. 7 in Ohio Circuit Court.

On Jan. 8, 2010, Gramlich claims she was terminated from her employment in connection with an incident that occurred in October 2009.

The incident occurred when the new Wheeling chief of police, Robert Metheny, came in to have his license renewed on Oct. 28, 2009.

Gramlich claims Metheny completed the license renewal form and was issued a new license. She claims upon inspection, he told her that his license did not show his motorcycle endorsement and asked about getting it placed on the license. When Gramlich told him they could not place the endorsement on his license, he called William Renzelli, a "high-ranking member of the DMV staff."

Metheny "felt that he was entitled to the endorsement and he believed that Mr. Renzelli was a highly placed individual who had the authority to authorize that the endorsement be placed on the chief's license," according to the suit.

Gramlich claims Renzelli spoke to her and told her to put the endorsement on Metheny's license, so she did. She claims it is not uncommon for administrative personnel in the main DMV office in Charleston to instruct personnel in her office via telephone to process license without the necessary documentation when there has been an error made, or when the Charleston personnel had access to information unavailable to field office staff which allowed them to verify that the license should be processed.

In January, Gramlich was terminated from her employment for "'illegally' issuing a renewal of an expired driver's license and adding a motorcycle endorsement," according to the suit.

Gramlich claims Renzello was not disciplined by the DMV for his actions relating to Metheny's license renewal and motorcycle endorsement.

On Jan. 21, 2010, Gramlich filed a grievance with the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board to dispute her employment termination and a hearing was held on April 21, 2010, according to the suit.

Gramlich claims the administrative law judge found in favor of her and ordered the DMV to reinstate her. She claims the DMV's termination of her employment constituted unlawful gender discrimination because her superior, a male, was not terminated or otherwise disciplined in connection with the incident.

Gramlich is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Nicholas A. Wininsky and Shane M. Mallett.

Ohio Circuit Court case number: 11-C-8

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