MORGANTOWN – A former employee is suing the Star City Volunteer Fire Department after he claims he was discriminated against because of his race.

Leonel Caso was employed by Star City VFD from October 2012 until January 2015, according to a complaint filed in Monongalia Circuit Court.

Caso claims he performed his duties in a satisfactory manner, but, because of his Hispanic descent, he was subjected to offensive name calling by co-workers, directors, managers and board members.

The defendant’s agents called Caso, “papi,” “terrorist,” “criminal,” “Mexican,” and “Cuban,” all of which was offensive to him, according to the suit.

Caso claims he was unable to report the offensive conduct because supervisors and management personnel participated in the offensive conduct.

The plaintiff also reported other issues, including failure to follow proper policies and/or procedures and potentially unlawful pay practices, according to the suit.

Caso claims he was given the option to resign or be terminated on Jan. 1, 2015. He chose to resign on Jan. 5, 2015.

The defendants’ motivation to discharge Caso involved racial discrimination and/or retaliation for reporting staffing and employment issues, according to the suit.

Caso claims the defendant engaged in various severe and hostile actions against him which were based, at least in part, on his race.

The defendant’s wrongful/retaliatory discharge violated public policy and the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.

Caso is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Erika Klie Kolenich and James L. Lindsay of Klie Law Offices PLLC.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 16-C-498

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