CHARLESTON - A former employee is suing Mardi Gras Casino and Resort after she claims her employment was wrongfully terminated because she suffered from an illness that caused her to miss work periodically.
Racing Corporation of West Virginia is doing business as Mardi Gras Casino and Resort.
Jennifer Dillon was employed by the defendant from September 2008 until November 2011 as a blackjack dealer, according to a complaint filed March 19 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Dillon claims she began to suffer from a chronic gastro-esophageal disorder and in May 2011, she applied for intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act leave due to her medical condition.
Thereafter, Dillon's medical condition continued to worsen and she lost a great deal of weight and wore a headband to work, similar to that other employees wore, to cover thinning and balding spots on her head, and was sent home for a dress code violation, according to the suit.
Dillon claims she felt she was being unnecessarily harassed due to her medical problems and use of medical leave.
In June 2011, Dillon was hospitalized for testing and missed several days of work and in July 2011, the defendant sent her additional FMLA paperwork, requesting that she "re-certify," but Dillon never received the paperwork, according to the suit.
Dillon claims she also began to suffer from mental health problems stemming from her physical illness and on Aug. 4, 2011, she informed the defendant that her physician was taking her off work for one month due to her health condition and her physician faxed paperwork to the defendant.
In September 2011, when Dillon was released to return to work, she was informed by the defendant that she had "voluntarily quit," according to the suit.
Dillon claims when she disputed this, the defendant allowed her to come back as a new hire on Oct. 3, 2011.
On Oct. 25, 2011, Dillon had to call off work because of stomach problems and the defendant gave her a write-up due to her absence, which it considered unexcused, and stated on the write-up form that "as an introductory employee, she could be fired for any attendance issue," according to the suit.
On Nov. 23, 2011, Dillon called off work for stomach problems and when she called in again the following day, she informed a supervisor that she would not be in for several days because of her illness and was told to call Human Resources on Nov. 28, 2011, according to the suit.
Dillon claims when she called Human Resources she was informed she had been fired for not showing up to work.
Dillon claims the defendant refused to reinstate her or compensate her for lost wages, despite the investigation's findings.
The defendant's actions were willful, wanton and/or carried out with reckless disregard for Dillon's rights, according to the suit.
Dillon is seeking reinstatement and compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Kristina Thomas Whiteaker and David L. Grubb of the Grubb Law Group.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-525