Country Inn & Suites sued over woman's firing

By Joel Brakken | Oct 3, 2013

BECKLEY - An ex-employee of Country Inn & Suites is suing following termination allegedly due to her health and age.

Pamela J. Smith filed a lawsuit May 1 against Hospitality Lodging Investors LP, doing business as Country Inn & Suites, HLI Development Inc. and Roger D. Martin in the Circuit Court of Raleigh County, citing violations of the West Virginia Human Rights Act and the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act.

Smith says that she was employed by Country Inn as Director of Sales and Marketing from Aug. 1, 2003, to Aug. 1, 2011, when she was terminated. She states that on Oct. 26, 2009, she suffered a heart attack and underwent open heart, double bypass surgery and placed on medical leave.

According to the complaint, Smith returned to work on Jan. 8, 2010, at which time she attended multiple trade shows with Martin and Joseph Wolfe. Smith claims that at the trade shows, Martin commented to Wolfe the need to replace Smith with a "young fireball."

The complaint alleges that up until her termination, Martin would often ask if she planned to retire and if her age and health let her do her work and required her to maintain a call log of her activities, which other employees were not required to do.

Smith alleges that on Aug. 1, 2011, she was wrongfully terminated from her position and the defendants failed to pay all her wages due within 72 hours of her termination.

Smith is seeking damages in excess of $3,900, including lost wages and benefits, back pay, front pay, and attorney fees and court costs and any other damages as set by the court. She is being represented by attorneys at Robinson & McElwee PLLC.

Circuit Court of Raleigh County Case No: 13-C-349.

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