ELKINS — A government agency is suing Big Lots Stores Inc. for alleged violations of civil rights, federal law and human rights.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint on June 6 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, alleging that the defendant failed to respond to letters in which the commission requested that the retail chain engage "in informal methods of conciliation to endeavor to eliminate... discriminatory practices." The commission allegedly also said in the letters that it had found reasonable cause that the store chain had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that it suffered damages on behalf of a deaf employee who claimed she was mocked and ridiculed by co-workers while employed at a Big Lots store. The employee was allegedly discharged due to discrimination. The plaintiff holds the defendant responsible for allegedly discriminating against the employee and terminating her.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks enjoin the defendant, permanent injunction, order the defendant to submit periodic reports to the commission identifying all complaints, back pay with interest, compensation, punitive damages, all legal fees and any other relief the court deems just. They are represented by Debra M. Lawrence and Ronald L. Phillips of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Baltimore.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 2:17-cv-00073-JPB.

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