Former employee says Prestera wrongfully terminated her

HUNTINGTON – A former employee is suing Prestera Center for Mental Health Services, Inc., after she claims her employment was wrongfully terminated.

Deborah Haskins was employed by Prestera as a residential aide and one of her duties was transporting clients in her vehicle, according to a complaint filed Dec. 13 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Haskins claims she was transporting a client on May 8 when she was involved in a serious accident and sustained injuries.

The Huntington Police Department accident report displays that Haskins was not suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the suit, and Haskins sought treatment at St. Mary’s Medical Center for her injuries.

Haskins claims she had never before been drug tested as a result of being suspected of abusing alcohol or controlled substances. However, while at St. Mary’s she received a telephone call from a Prestera supervisor ordering her to take a drug test by noon the following day.

Later in the evening on May 8, after receiving several pain medications and instructions to rest her injuries and to not drive, Haskins was discharged from St. Mary’s, according to the suit.

Haskins claims on the morning of May 9, she informed Prestera that she was physically unable to report to the drug test due to her injuries, as well as the damage done to her vehicle.

Later that day, Haskins filed an online application for West Virginia Workers’ Compensation benefits because of her inability to work, according to the suit, and on May 10, Prestera terminated Haskins’ employment, stating that she failed to submit to a mandatory drug test.

Haskins claims her filing for Workers’ Compensation benefits was a significant factor in Prestera’s decision to terminate her employment.

The defendant’s actions were in violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act and caused Haskins damages, according to the suit.

Haskins is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Richard Weston and Connor Robertson.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 12-C-820

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