CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County woman alleges her ex-employer effectively fired her after she underwent heart surgery six months into a new job.

Joice Bannister filed a lawsuit March 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Boggess Group Inc., doing business as House of Dimitri, alleging employment discrimination and violations of the state Human Rights Act and Wage Payment and Collection Act.

According to the complaint, Bannister underwent heart surgery and had a pacemaker implanted in December of 2015, approximately six months after starting her job at House of Dimitri. Although she previously worked 60-70 hours a week, the suit says upon returning to work in January 2016 she was offered reduced hours and a pay cut. Bannister says she resigned and views the move to cut her hours as a constructive discharge. She also states that during her employment with Boggess Group, she was not paid for overtime hours she worked.

Bannister seeks a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages, plus interest and litigation costs. She is represented by attorney Matthew S. Criswell and Mark L. French of Criswell French PLLC in Charleston. Judge Joanna Tabit is assigned to the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court Case number 16-C-357

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