CLARKSBURG – Sam's Club wants a case in which a former employer alleges she was unlawfully fired heard in federal court.
Carol Lasure originally filed her lawsuit July 30 in Monongalia Circuit Court, saying she lost her job due to her age. On July 30, Sam's Club sought to have the case removed to federal court.
In her complaint, Lasure alleges she worked her way from an entry-level position to general store manager over her 21-year-career. However, after Jeff Lencke became regional manager in February 2011, he devised a list of general store managers whom he intended to fire, and Lasure and others who were in their 50s were named on the list, according to the complaint.
"The meeting March 17, 2011, was the start of a radical change in management treatment toward Ms. Lasure," the suit states. "Previously, she had always had very good performance reviews and had a virtually unblemished record with defendants. After this meeting, Ms. Lasure was largely treated with utter rudeness, intimidation and lack of respect."
As she continued to be harassed, Lasure lapsed into severe depression and anxiety and suffered from a spike in blood pressure, plus severe chest pain that was identified as a hiatal hernia in March 2012, the complaint says.
Due to her health problems, Lasure took a leave of absence in August 2011, she alleges.
After her return to work, Lasure was not treated any better, according to the complaint. Instead, she was fired July 6, 2012, for her supposed retaliation against employees, the suit states.
"Thus, while Ms. Lasure had been complaining about and requesting a meeting with management about unfair treatment toward her, management ignored her requests and instead 'investigated' Ms. Lasure and fired her for entirely groundless reasons," the complaint says.
Lasure says she was replaced with a woman in her 30s, and she alleges age and disability discrimination against Sam's Club.
She seeks actual damages, plus an order of reinstatement to her employment if the court finds it appropriate, an injunction prohibiting further discrimination, prejudgment interest and other relief the court deems just.
Sam's Club seeks to have the case removed to federal court, saying the two parties are residents of different states. It also says the case can be removed because Lasure is seeking more than $75,000.
Drew M. Capuder of Capuder Fantasia in Fairmont is representing Lasure.
Eric E. Kinder and Alyesha Asghar Dotson of Spilman, Thomas and Battle in Charleston are representing Sam's Club.
The case has been assigned to District Judge Irene Keeley.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 1:14-cv-127