CHARLESTON - A former employee is suing The Cooke Company after she claims it breached its employment contract and violated wage payment laws.


Terra Price began her employment with Cooke in August 2012 as a driver and continued to work there as a dispatcher, assistant manager and manager until her constructive discharge in June, according to a complaint filed Jan. 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court.


Price claims twice in 2014, her paychecks bounced, and in February 2014, she suffered a knee injury at work.


Cooke provided no workers' compensation and Price had to pay her own medical expenses for the injury, which required surgery, according to the suit.


Price claims in February and March 2014, the defendant took premiums out of her paycheck to pay for health insurance and also in March, the health insurance was suspended due to Cooke failing to pay the premiums, despite withholding those premiums from Price's paycheck,


In April, Price was reimbursed a portion of the premiums that were deducted from her paycheck and was informed that Cook would not be providing health insurance for its employees, according to the suit.


Price claims Cooke's conduct created a hostile work environment due to Cooke's illegal activities and the financial burdens placed upon Price.


Because of her constructive discharge in June, Price sustained lose wages, embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress, according to the suit.


Price claims her discharge was wrongful and caused her inconvenience and aggravation, among other things.


Cooke also claims the defendant violated the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act and breached its employment contract.


Price is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Scott H. Kaminski of Balgo & Kaminski LC.


The case is assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.


Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-33

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