Former Verizon employee sues wrongful termination

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 13, 2010

CHARLESTON -- A former employee is suing Verizon Services Corporation, Verizon West Virginia and an individual after she claims she was wrongfully terminated from her job.

Mary Aliff was hired on Feb. 11, 1991, by Verizon's predecessor as a collector. She was diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication sometime after, according to a complaint filed Dec. 16 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Aliff claims her medication causes cotton mouth, which requires her to drink a lot of fluids throughout the workday, which then causes her to take frequent breaks to go to the restroom. She also suffers from migraine headaches.

According to the suit, On May 27, 2009, Aliff was approved to take a certain number of days off each month when her migraine headache symptoms were present, but two days later, the defendants decided to hold an investigatory meeting with her to investigate certain alleged code of conduct violations.

Aliff claims a central focus of the investigation related to various trips she made to the restroom one day and to get a drink to take with her migraine medicine. She claims on June 1, they held another investigatory meeting, of which at the end she was suspended.

On June 8, the defendants held another meeting with Aliff and then fired her, according to the suit.

Aliff claims the defendants suggested multiple reasons in support of their decision to fire her, but that a substantial motivating factor for the decision was "related to her disabling health conditions." She claims prior to the meeting on May 29, the defendants had never discussed her bathroom habits, nor made any inquiry as to whether or not these breaks were related to her health.

Aliff is seeking full reinstatement to her position with Verizon, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Lonnie C. Simmons and Heather M. Langeland of DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-2309

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