HUNTINGTON – A Kentucky man is suing his former employer, a Cabell County hospital, over claims of disability discrimination that led to his termination.

Benny A. Ooten of Catlettsburg filed a lawsuit in Cabell Circuit Court against Cabell Huntington Hospital, alleging disability discrimination in violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

The suit claims Ooten was employed by Cabell Huntington Hospital as a respiratory therapist for more than seven years. Ooten had previously been diagnosed with foot drop caused by nerve damage in his hip, for which he was required to wear a leg brace at work.

In January, the leg brace broke and Ooten was off work for several days. When he returned, he was given a written disciplinary warning for being "absent without good cause." The suit states Ooten was terminated approximately two weeks later, allegedly for the way he completed his patients' charts.

Ooten had never been warned or counseled about the way he completed charts, according to the suit.

The suit states Ooten's disability was a factor in the defendant's decision to terminate his employment.

As a result, Ooten has suffered emotional distress.

Ooten seeks compensatory damages, front pay, emotional distress and punitive damages, interests, and attorney fees and costs.

Ooten is being represented by attorney Richard W. Walters of Shaffer & Shaffer in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge F. Jane Hustead.

Cabell Circuit Court case number 15-C-597

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