Man accuses state DHHS of discrimination

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 6, 2012

CHARLESTON -- A former employee is suing the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services after he claims he was discriminated against due to his gender and age.

George M. Lewis was the county medical examiner for Ohio County and on March 20, 2011, he was injured in a fall and was unable to perform his job duties, so he went on medical leave until Aug. 8, 2011, according to a complaint filed May 17 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Lewis claims despite being released from medical leave and becoming available for work , the defendants refused to reinstate him to his former position and/or terminated his employment without reasonable cause.

The defendant initially did not reinstate Lewis on the alleged basis that he was not affiliated with an Emergency Medical Service, when he was, in fact, affiliated with the Brooke County ambulance service and the West Liberty Fire Department, according to the suit.

Lewis claims after he provided the information to the defendant, the basis for the refusal to reinstate him changed.

The adverse treatment of Lewis was in substantial part due to the wish of Chief Forensic Operations Manager Mike Scraggs to advance the interest of Carol Robinson, who is now functioning as the medical examinster of Ohio County, a female substantially younger than Lewis, according to the suit.

Lewis claims the refusal to reinstate him was based on his gender or age, which violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

The defendant's actions violated Lewis' constitutional rights and caused him damages, according to the suit.

Lewis is seeking reinstatement and compensatory damages. He is being represented by Patrick S. Caddify and Timothy F. Cogan.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-916

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