Woman says she was fired after office pill incident

By Cara Bailey | Nov 5, 2008

MORGANTOWN - A Monongalia County woman has filed a suit against her former employer, claiming she was fired for being a "whistle blower" after she was offered pills in the office.

Marie Canales filed a suit in Monongalia Circuit Court against Connecting Link, a Morgantown company where Canales was employed as an information and referral specialist.

According to the suit, in June 2008, Canales met a man, Rick, who was an acquaintance of Danielle Chefren, executive director of Connecting Link. Rick came into the office to assist in the Morgantown office, which was staffed by Canales and another staff member, Susan Judy.

Canales claims that while in the office, Rick offered her an unknown substance in the form of a number of pills. She and Judy declined but the pills were left in their office, the suit says.

According to the suit, Canales and Judy called Chefren the next day, who said she had talked to Rick and that he would not be returning to the office. Canales claims she was told to flush the pills down the toilet and submit a written report describing the entire incident.

However, Canales did not destroy the pills and returned the next day with her camera to obtain photographs of the pills. According to the suit, the pills were no longer there, which she reported to Chefren.

On July 30, 2008, approximately one month after Canales reported the pills missing, she was fired, with claims that she possessed a controlled substance in the workplace and failure to notify her supervisor that she had been given a controlled substance, the suit says.

Canales claims she was fired because management thought she was about to report unlawful conduct to outside authorities. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Kelly J. Kimble is representing Canales.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 08-C-774

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