Former employee says WeCare terminated employment because of pregnancy

By Kyla Asbury | May 10, 2013

CHARLESTON – A former employee is suing WeCare Medical LLC for allegedly terminating her employment due to her pregnancy.

James Blankenship and Oley J. Burgess III were also named as defendants in the suit.

In September, Leigh Francis Taylor accepted employment with WeCare and prior to her acceptance, she had been recruited to leave her former employment by Burgess and Blankenship, according to a complaint filed May 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Taylor claims after accepting employment, she learned that she was pregnant with her first child and a few weeks later, she informed Blankenship.

On Nov. 28, Blankenship removed Taylor from her assigned territories and referenced her pregnancy and maternity leave as the reason for his actions, according to the suit.

Taylor claims she was assigned to a newly created territory that did not have any existing clients of WeCare and she was instructed to visit facilities and attempt to create new accounts.

As a consequence of the reassignment, Taylor lost her monthly points toward her commission, which was how her salary was based, according to the suit.

Taylor claims on Jan. 3 she traveled to WeCare’s Charleston office to meet Blankenship and during the meeting, Blankenship terminated her employment and referenced her pregnancy and possible maternity leave during the meeting.

The defendants’ actions were motivated by Taylor’s pregnancy and not for performance issues, according to the suit.

Taylor claims the defendants’ actions were intentional, malicious and in reckless disregard for her protected rights.

As a result of the defendants’ actions, Taylor suffered loss of pay; physical distress and pain; emotional distress and pain; suffering; inconvenience; loss of enjoyment of life; and other non-pecuniary losses, according to the suit.

Taylor is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Stephen B. Farmer and Matthew H. Nelson of Farmer, Cline & Campbell PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-855

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