CHARLESTON -- A former store manager is suing Steak Escape of Charleston, Inc., after he claims his employment was wrongfully terminated.

In early 2012, Gary W. Walker was transferred to Steak Escape’s Charleston Town Center location in order to fill the store manager position, according to a complaint filed Oct. 5 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Walker claims the Town Center location had a pre-existing informal policy in place under which employees of the store could borrow small amounts of money from the store through the use of informal promissory notes and on April 19 an employee did at a time when the restaurant and the shopping center were closed.

When Walker learned of the incident, he reported it to his supervisor, who advised him to issue the employee a disciplinary warning, which he did, according to the suit.

Walker claims on May 15, his employment was terminated for apparently not immediately firing the employee and/or that he should have directly contacted the defendant’s president regarding the employee.

At the time of his termination, Walker was 41 years old and had file at least three workers’ compensation claims against the defendant and/or its sister corporations under common ownership in the immediately preceding years, according to the suit.

Walker claims after his termination, he was replaced by a substantially younger and less-experienced employee.

The defendant’s actions allegedly violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.

Walker claims he was terminated based on his age and/or disability.

The plaintiff’s prior workers’ compensation filings were significant factors in the defendant’s decision to terminate his employment, according to the suit, which violates West Virginia code.

Walker is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Steven B. Wiley.

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

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2005

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