CHARLESTON - A Poca woman is suing Mardi Gras Casino & Resort after she claims her employment was wrongfully terminated and she was discriminated against.
Natasha R. Matthews was employed at Mardi Gras as a cashier from Sept. 11, 2002, until August 2013, according to a complaint filed May 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Matthews claims in December 2012, she slipped on ice in the parking lot and re-aggravated a previous work-related back injury.
On June 1, 2013, Matthews underwent back surgery and was off work on medical leave until June 18, 2013, according to the suit. On that day, Matthews was placed on intermittent medical leave for sporadic flare ups related to her back injury.
Matthews claims she was terminated for allegedly using her intermittent medical leave for vacation and she was able to show that the allegations made against her were untrue and within a few days of her termination, she was reinstated with back pay on Aug. 20, 2013.
On Aug. 30, 2013, Matthews reported to work and after approximately one hour, her face began swelling and she broke out in hives due to an allergic reaction to dust and mold in the air from ongoing construction at the casino, according to the suit.
Matthews claims when her throat began to swell closed, she promptly left work and drove to her doctor's office a few miles away and was advised that she had mold and dust in her sinus cavities and she needed to be off work a couple days to allow the antibiotic and steroids to take effect before returning to work.
The doctor also prescribed an EpiPen in the event the symptoms return while at work, according to the suit.
Matthews claims when she returned to work the following week, she was informed her employment was being terminated.
The defendant violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act by discriminating against Matthew for her disability and wrongfully discharged her from her employment, according to the suit.
Matthews is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Richard W. Walters of Shaffer & Shaffer PLLC.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-959