MARTINSBURG - A Berkeley County woman filed a suit against her former employer, claiming she was fired because of her national origin.

Frances Garcia Gutierrez filed a suit Nov. 1 in Berkeley Circuit Court against Randstad Inhouse Services L.P. Gutierrez is part Hispanic and is married to a Hispanic man.

She worked at Randstad from Feb. 27, 2007, to July 24. In May, Gutierrez became the account manager for Quebecor World Fairfield Inc. in Martinsburg.

During her employment, she claims her supervisor Ken Goodling asked her to verify the social security number of Hispanics only. Gutierrez refused, telling him it was illegal.

In July, Gutierrez was contacted by Goodling and informed she needed to meet with Randstad's attorney, John Kelly.

According to the suit, during their meeting, Kelly stated that Quebecor has a large Hispanic workforce that does not speak English, and asked if Gutierrez had knowingly hired illegal aliens.

Kelly also asked the origin of Gutierrez's name "Garcia." He also asked where she learned to speak Spanish.

"During the meeting, Mr. Kelly asked her about her Hispanic husband and whether she had ever given preferential treatment to Hispanics," the suit says.

At the end of the meeting, Kelly informed he would get back to Gutierrez with the results of his investigation. In July 2007, Goodling and his immediate supervisor informed Gutierrez that she was not "the right fit for the job."

Gutierrez claims her discharge was performed on the basis of her national origin and that of her husband.

Gutierrez, through attorney Harry Waddell, seeks compensation for past and future losses resulting from the unlawful employment practices of the defendants. She also seeks punitive damages for malicious and reckless conduct.

The case has been assigned to Judge David Sanders.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number 07-C-1190

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