Jury says Frontier did not discriminate against former employee

By Kyla Asbury | May 6, 2015

CHARLESTON – A jury reached a verdict that Frontier did not wrongfully fire one of its employees.

The verdict was reached April 20 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The jury found that Deena McClelland did not prove that she was discriminated against, in violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act, by Frontier West Virginia Inc., according to the verdict form.

The lawsuit was originally filed on Feb. 5, 2014, and was assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

McClelland claimed she became a residential customer service clerk in September 2009 for Frontier and that since approximately 2000, she had suffered from debilitating migraine headaches.

Under the program in place at the time Frontier became McClelland's employer, employees with debilitating health conditions may obtain pre-approved absences from work when the employee is suffering from symptoms of their health condition, according to the suit.

McClelland claimed she was entitled to five days of excused absences per month in the event that she was suffering from a migraine headache and on Jan. 30 and 31, 2013, she was forced to miss work due to suffering from a migraine.

When she returned to work on Feb. 5, 2013 she was taken into a meeting and advised she was being suspended without pay, allegedly for using the Internet, according to the suit.

McClelland claims her employment was terminated on Feb. 26, 2013.

The defendant violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act because the defendant failed to make reasonable accommodations for McClelland's disability.

McClelland claimed the defendant also violated the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act by failing to pay her final wages in full within 72 hours of discharge.

McClelland was seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She was represented by Lonnie C. Simmons and Robert M. Bastress III of DiTrapano, Barrett, DiPiero, McGinley & Simmons PLLC.

Frontier was represented by J. David Fenwick of Goodwin & Goodwin.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-278

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