Charleston Sanitary Board sued

by John O'Brien |
May 9, 2006, 3:50am

CHARLESTON - A man who says he was fired by the Sanitary Board of the City of Charleston because he made claims of wage discrimination has filed a lawsuit against the Board.

James M. Kirk filed the suit May 1 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the Sanitary Board and Larry L. Roller, an employee of the Board. Kirk says that the Board's official reason for his firing was improperly filling out his application, even though he worked there for two years.

"Mr. Kirk alleges that he was terminated from his employment in retaliation for filing a grievance for what he perceived to be wage discrimination, in violation of the public policy of West Virginia," the complaint says.

Matthew S. Criswell of Charleston law firm Criswell and French is representing Kirk, who filed an "Employee Grievance - Step I" on Sept. 13 in which he stated he believed he was entitled to a raise.

He says he was informed that his grievance wasn't filed in a timely or proper manner, and he filed another a week later.

On Sept. 15, there was a meeting held to discuss his grievance. Seven days later, a memorandum was sent explaining his claims and the Board's decision to dismiss the grievance.

On Sept. 28, Kirk says he filed an appeal of the decision, and another hearing was scheduled for mid-January. Kirk, though, was fired Dec. 14.

Kirk says he was told he was fired because he did not answer the question, "Have you ever been discharged or asked to resign a job, and if yes, please explain?" on his application that he filled out in May 2003.

He is seeking back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages and a reinstatement to his job.

Judge Tod Kaufman has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-802

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