CHARLESTON -- A woman is suing Metro Emergency Operations Center after she claims it violated the West Virginia Whistle Blowers statute.
Kanawha County Commission and Joe Doe were also named as defendants in the suit.
Laura Wilson was employed by Metro as a call taker/dispatcher and continued to advance through the ranks until she was offered the position in 2006 as training coordinator and in 2010 as operations director, according to a complaint filed Sept. 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Wilson claims in September 2011 her duties began to be removed from her and given to another employee without reasons being given.
At the time of Wilson’s departure on Jan. 24, her direct supervisor declined to speak with her unless someone else was present and she was removed from a position of gaining information pertaining directly to her job without cause and without counseling, according to the suit.
Wilson claims at a meeting between Carolyn Karr Charnock, the director; Denise Clark, the assistant director; and herself in November 2011, Charnock advised her of the existence of a “slush fund” created for Metro for the personal use of selected employees.
The slush fund consisted of a bogus rent payment to be made by Metro by Dale Petry and/or Grant Gunnoe of the Kanawha County Office of Emergency Services for the rental of an Office at Metro, according to the suit, and the rental amount was to be $450 monthly, paid out of the Office of Emergency Services budget and was to be used for whatever purposes the director saw fit.
Wilson claims Charnock advised her the personal usage was known and approved by at least one county commissioner.
After this discussion, Wilson left work and began discussing with officials of the Metro 911 board about the inconsistent, inadequate and possibly illegal actions of the director of Metro 911, according to the suit.
Wilson claims on April 18, Charles Bailey of Bailey & Wyant was selected to conduct an independent investigation of behalf of the Board of Directors of Metro of the allegations of a hostile work environment and Wilson discussed with Bailey the basis of her being off work and her desire to return to work, but requested she not be reassigned to the Metro office, as she feared additional and continued retaliation.
However, on July 28, Charnock resigned and the major impediment of Wilson’s return to Metro was eliminated, according to the suit.
Wilson claims she returned to work on Aug. 13 and requested that she be allowed to return to her former job as Director of Operations at Metro and was immediately denied and was reassigned to the County Commission.
Following the reassignment, Wilson has been scorned by remaining employees in her current office and publicly belittled by certain management personnel, according to the suit.
Wilson claims she was retaliated against and demoted in violation of the West Virginia Whistle Blower statute.
As a result of the defendants’ actions, Wilson has suffered loss of wages; great annoyance and inconvenience; mental anguish; pain and suffering; and other damages, according to the suit.
Wilson is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre-judgment interest. She is being represented by Michael T. Clifford.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1877