Woman says Gymboree fired her for filing for bankruptcy

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 17, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A Kanawha County woman is suing Gymboree after she claims her employment was wrongfully terminated because she filed for bankruptcy.

Michele Y. Ratliff was employed by Gymboree Operations, Inc., and worked in both the Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores at the Charleston Town Center Mall from April 29, 2007, until Sept. 17, 2007, according to a complaint filed July 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Ratliff claims toward the end of her employment with the defendant, she held a management position.

On Sept. 10, 2010, Ratliff filed for protection under the provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code and had earlier informed a Gymboree store assistant manager that she was consulting with bankruptcy counsel, according to the suit.

Ratliff claims within seven days of filing the petition, her employment was terminated. She claims she was terminated because she had filed for bankruptcy.

In February 2010, the defendant appointed a new district manager, according to the suit, who targeted Ratliff because of her age.

Ratliff claims the district manager "labored to find," a reason to fire her, and in doing so, was discriminating against her because of her age.

The defendant was wrong in terminating Ratliff either because of her age or because she had filed for bankruptcy and violated West Virginia Code, according to the suit.

Ratliff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Dana F. Eddy.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1187

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