Supreme Court denies petition on occupation title of Lincoln school board employee

By Chandra Lye | Apr 12, 2017

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has upheld the decision of a lower court with regards to an occupation title complaint.

Employee with the Lincoln County Board of Education Heather Stewart filed an appeal of a decision made by the Kanawha Circuit Court that upheld an earlier decision of the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board.

Stewart’s concern, according to the court documents is “that the circuit court erred in affirming the decision of the board because the ALJ (administrative law judge) erroneously found that she was correctly classified as a Clerk II/Accountant II.”

However the Supreme Court wrote in its decision that, “the court finds no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision affirming the circuit court’s order is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.”

Stewart began working at the Lincoln County Board of Education in 2007 and in 2013 accepted the position of Clerk II/Accountant II with the organization. However, in November of that year she filed a level one grievance claiming that 40 percent of her workload was more fitting of an executive secretary or Secretary III title. At a hearing in December 2013, her grievance was denied.

She appealed that decision, moving it to a level two grievance in January 2014. When mediation failed, Stewart filed a level three grievance in April of that year.

The administrative law judge gave its opinion following a hearing in October 2014.

“In the decision, the ALJ found that petitioner’s duties fit both the statutory definition and respondent’s job description for Clerk II/Accountant II and again denied her grievance,” the court documents stated.

Stewart filed an appeal in the circuit court in November 2014.

On Jan. 13, 2016, the court confirmed the earlier decision by the board.

Chief Justice Allen H. Loughry II, Justice Robin Jean Davis, Justice Menis E. Ketchum, Justice Elizabeth D. Walker decided on Feb. 21, to uphold the circuit court’s decision.

Justice Margaret L. Workman had disqualified herself from the case.

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