Randolph Co. man says Dept. of Agriculture wrongly fired him

By Cara Bailey | Feb 27, 2008

CHARLESTON - A Randolph County man is suing a state agency after he claims he was forced to resign under threat of termination.

Bruce I. McElroy filed a suit Jan. 28 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

McElroy began employment with the WVDA on Sept. 1, 1989, working as a field agent. In 2002, his job title changed from field agent to Forest Health Protection Specialist, but he says his duties remained basically the same.

According to the suit, McElroy worked effectively and without discipline during his 18 years with WVDA.

In 2001 or 2002, McElroy was diagnosed with panic disorder, for which he was prescribed medication. He was still able to perform all of his essential job duties. He also suffered from dyslexia, which was diagnosed in 1969.

McElroy claims WVDA was aware of his medical conditions and the medication he took.

In October 2006, Kerry Shultz was appointed as personnel director of WVDA. He questioned a supervisor about the medication McElroy took and then told the supervisor that McElroy should go on disability.

In 2007, WVDA switched from topographical maps to military maps. McElroy claims he had great difficulty reading the maps because of his dyslexia.

According to the suit, McElroy was called into a meeting June 5, 2007, to discuss his job performance.

At the meeting McElroy was advised he was guilty of falsifying documents by documenting a spray in different blocks than those that were actually sprayed. He was told his job performance caused embarrassment for the WVDA.

McElroy then had another meeting June 28, in which he says he was forced to sign a letter of resignation or a letter of termination would be used.

According to the suit, McElroy claims he suffered lost wages and benefits, mental suffering, embarrassment and other damages. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Kelly R. Reed is representing McElroy. The case has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-186

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