GLENVILLE — A Gilmer County woman filed a lawsuit against a public utility department and three of its officers for alleged unlawful retaliatory discharge in a 2014 issue.

Brenda K. Lawson brought a complaint against Gilmer County Public Service District (PSD), William Stalnaker, Sallie Mathess and Charles E. Talbott on April 28 in Gilmer Circuit Court, claiming liability in a June 2014 workplace incident.

The plaintiff was hired by PSD as a general manager in or about November 1997. Lawson suffers from asthma and fibromyalgia and alleges that her employers were aware of her medical conditions.

Following a June 10, 2014, fire at the PSD offices, the plaintiff returned to work on June 11 and allegedly experienced respiratory symptoms from exposure to residual chemicals, fumes and other debris from the fire and extinguishing equipment.

Lawson sought medical treatment and submitted a workers’ compensation claim on or about June 12. The lawsuit states that her healthcare provider determined that she had incurred an occupational injury due to smoke inhalation, and initiated paperwork.

The plaintiff’s claim was accepted by her employers’ insurance carrier and Lawson collected benefits in June and July of 2014. Upon her return to work, she was terminated on July 31 for alleged deficiencies in her job performance.

The grievance invokes federal and state labor laws, citing unlawful disability discrimination and retaliatory discharge. Alleging loss of income, distress and humiliation, the plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.

Lawson is represented by Mark Goldner of Hughes and Goldner in Charleston.

Gilmer Circuit Court case no. 15-L-11

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