Father, daughter say they were wrongfully fired

By Cara Bailey | May 11, 2007

MARTINSBURG - A father and daughter have filed a suit against their former employers, claiming they were wrongfully fired from their jobs at Augmentation Inc.

Robert and Katharine Kutcher filed a joint suit April 16 in Berkeley Circuit Court against Augmentation Inc. Also named as defendants are Howard Whitbred, James David and Arthur Thomm II.

According to the suit, Robert Kutcher claims he was fired because of his age. Kutcher was the director of recruitment and staff development at Charles Town Race and Slots.

According to the suit, Kutcher claims Howard Whitbred, the president and CEO of Augmentation, "formulated a plan to induce the plaintiff to quit his job with Charles Town Races and Slots," the suit says.

Part of the plan was to hire Katharine Kutcher as a senior account executive with Augmentation, the suit says. Robert Kutcher was offered the position of vice president of industrial services.

Robert Kutcher resigned from Charles Town Races and Slots on April 10, 2006.

"Howard Whitbred informed the plaintiff that his compensation structure to include a bonus would be reviewed after his first ninety days of employment," the suit says.

On July 7, 2006, Robert Kutcher was informed by telephone that he had been fired, the suit says. At that time, he was 57 years old. He was replaced with a man who was under 40 years old.

Eleven days later, Katharine Kutcher was also fired.

According to the suit, Whitbred made several derogatory age-related comments about Robert Kutcher. One of the comments made during an interview dinner compared Kutcher to a racehorse, the suit says.

"(Kutcher) probably only has two more races left in him," the suit claims Whitbred said.

Robert Kutcher claims he is a victim of age discrimination, which is a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

Robert and Katharine Kutcher, through attorney Harry P. Waddell, seek general damages, back pay, lost of future anticipated earnings, punitive damages and court costs.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gray Silver.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number 07-C-315

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