Wayne woman says Verizon fired her because of disability

By Cara Bailey | Nov 21, 2007

CHARLESTON - A Wayne County woman has filed a suit against her previous employer, seeking to be reinstated to her job, claiming she was fired because of a disability.

Desiree Ison filed a suit Nov. 8 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Verizon Services Corporation. Donald Cunningham, an employee of Verizon, is also named as a defendant.

Ison started working for Verizon as a telemarketing representative in June 2000.

"Through her years of employment, (Ison) was a good employee, who won several sales awards and was chosen to instruct other employees in other states on Defendants' way of doing business," the suit says.

In 2004, Ison was diagnosed with depression and suffered from anxiety attacks. According to the suit, Ison was allowed to have intermittent leave when her depression and anxiety attacks made it too difficult to work.

Ison claims that despite her leave being approved, she was contacted, either by telephone or in person, "virtually every day she was absent from work," the suit says.

In April 2007, Ison developed strep throat. In order to treat her strep throat, she had to quit taking her depression medication.

"After a few days, when (Ison) could feel the effects of not taking the medications, she called defendants to let them know she needed a leave of absence for a few days to allow herself to adjust to the medications again," the suit says.

Then, April 18, 2007, Ison says her best friend when into labor. Ison claims she was the coach throughout the pregnancy, and had explained to her employer that she would be present for the birth. The baby was born the next day.

According to the suit, when the defendants learned Ison was present for the birth of the child, she was suspended.

Ison received a call June 26, from Cunningham, informing her that she was fired.

According to the suit, Ison claims she was fired based on the absences she had in connection with her disability.

Ison claims her firing was a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

Ison seeks compensatory damages, a full reinstatement to her position as a telemarketing representative, with all salary increases, bonuses and other related fringe benefits. She also seeks punitive damages.

Attorney Lonnie C. Simmons is representing Ison. The case has been assigned to Judge Paul Zakaib.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-2425

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