Pregnant woman says she was discriminated against

By John O'Brien | Jul 28, 2006

CHARLESTON - A woman says she was fired from her job because she is pregnant.

Lori Jean Holbert entered a lawsuit July 20 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Thomas Andrew Wirts Enterprises, Inc., and Express Services, claiming she was "terminated from her employment as a result of informing her supervisor she was pregnant."

Holbert was an office coordinator at Wirts Enterprises until she was fired upon her return from vacation.

She says she was having difficulty keeping up with an increased workload of files, but Wirts assured her there was no problem.

On May 19, before she left for vacation, she says she told Wirts she would not be able to catch up with her work before going on vacation, so she would put some of the files in her desk. Holbert says Wirts indicated this was all right.

However, when she returned, she discovered a voicemail from Wirts that said she was fired because he found files hidden in her desk.

Holbert insists that was a cover-up for the real reason she was fired: Because she is pregnant.

She says she has suffered lost wages, lost benefits, out-of-pocket losses, a substantial amount of emotional and mental distress, humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, aggravation, annoyance and inconvenience.

Holbert is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as court costs.

Matthew Criswell of Charleston's Criswell and French is representing Holbert.

Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-1418

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