HUNTINGTON – A Wayne County woman is suing Alcon Laboratories after she claims it discriminated against her because of her race, gender and disability.

Tayona Powell worked for Alcon for approximately eight months when she learned she would need to undergo surgery to remove fibroid tumors on March 24, according to a complaint filed in Cabell Circuit Court.

Powell claims she timely notified the defendant of her need for surgery and the defendant told her that she would need to resign from her employment and refused to give her unpaid leave.

The plaintiff advised the defendant that she was not resigning from her employment, so the defendant terminated her while she was recovering from her surgery and shortly before her release to return to work on May 11, according to the suit.

Powell claims she applied for re-employment with Alcon and the company refused to hire her back.

Alcon has hired other employees who do not have serious health conditions and/or disabilities to perform the same or similar job to Powell, according to the suit.

Powell claims as a result of the defendant's failure to employ her, she has suffered and will continue to suffer damages.

Alcon violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and discriminated against Powell based on her gender, race and perceived disability, according to the suit.

Powell claims the defendant retaliated against her for exercising her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Powell is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Hoyt Glazer, Ben Sheridan and Mitchell L. Klein of Klein, Sheridan and Glazer LC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 15-C-496

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