Monongalia County woman says Gabriel Brothers fired her over pregnancy

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 13, 2012

MORGANTOWN -- A former employee is suing Gabriel Brothers, Inc., after she claims her employment was terminated because she was pregnant.

MORGANTOWN -- A former employee is suing Gabriel Brothers, Inc., after she claims her employment was terminated because she was pregnant.

Megan Edwards began working at Gabriel Brothers in September 2010 at its warehouse location in Morgantown, according to a complaint filed Oct. 17 in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Edwards claims on various dates prior to June 2011, she and her supervisor, Bruce Ermenio, discussed training her to do office work, as opposed to warehouse labor, and Ermenio told her she had been placed “on the list” for office work.

In June 2011, Edwards informed Ermenio that she was pregnant, according to the suit.

Edwards claims prior to telling Ermenio about her pregnancy, he had been friendly toward her, but after learning of the pregnancy, he was cold and distant toward her.

After learning of the pregnancy, Ermenio no longer discussed the possibility of Edwards performing office work, according to the suit, and approximately three months later, in September 2011, Edwards was written up by Ermenio for excessive absences, all of which were medically necessary and approved by Edwards’ doctor, and informed Edwards that she was fired.

Edwards claims prior to the September 2011 write up, she had never received a verbal or written reprimand during her employment and had provided Ermenio with written excuses for missing work from her doctor.

One week after her termination, Edwards was called back to work and was told that she could request Family Medical Leave Act for up to 12 weeks and she had her doctors complete the paperwork required for FMLA and was approved for unpaid leave, according to the suit.

Edwards claims she used eight weeks of FMLA, with doctor excuses for every day she was absent from work.

On Oct. 31, 2011, Edwards arrived at work at 6 a.m. with a doctor’s order indicating she would need to reduce her work hours and was informed that Ermenio needed to see her, according to the suit.

Edwards claims when she met with Ermenio, he informed her that her employment was being terminated because of how many days she had missed from work.

There was no reason to fire Edwards other than because she was pregnant, because she needed to have her work duties restricted to accommodate her pregnancy and/or because she had absences which were fully covered by FMLA, according to the suit.

Edwards claims the defendant discharged her based solely on her gender and pregnancy.

Gabriel Brothers allegedly violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit, and caused Edwards to suffer loss of income and benefits; damage to physical health and well-being; mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety and other adverse mental and emotional effects; loss of standing and reputation in the community; financial and other hardship; and other damages.

Edwards is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by David Grunau.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 12-C-720

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