West Virginia Record

Friday, February 28, 2020

Roush files lawsuit alleging discrimination

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By Kyla Asbury | Jan 20, 2020

Employmentlaw

CHARLESTON — A top administrative law judge filed a lawsuit against the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner and the West Virginia Division of Personnel alleging it discriminated against her based on her gender.

Chief Administrative Law Judge Rebecca Roush was an administrative law judge beginning in 2008. She was informed that she would not be reappointed and her term would end on Nov. 30. She was informed she would be replaced with a male judge.

Roush claims during her employment, her salary remained the same with the exception of across-the-board cost of living adjustments that were authorized for all state employees. She claims male employees that she supervised made approximately $5,689 more than she made.

Roush claims her predecessor made approximately $11,904 more than she did each year.

The plaintiff approached Kathy Damron, the former Human Resources director for the WVOIC, regarding female judge candidates receiving substantially less than their male counterparts and Damron asked her to submit a memorandum to the insurance commissioner explaining the pay disparity, according to the suit.

Roush claims as she continued to bring up the pay disparity on several occasions until she was accused of sending an inappropriate Facebook message to Nancy Workman, an employee, in December 2017 by Insurance Commissioner Allan McVey.

Roush later was ordered to resign or face public humiliation. McVey ordered her to empty and vacate her office and she was ordered not to communicate with any of the employees, according to the suit.

Roush claims WVOIA interfered in a proceeding in her case involving her employment and the Facebook message with Workman, and repeatedly denied requests for essential operating resources. The office also underfunded the Office of Judges to the point of dysfunction and impacting the quality of work performed.

Workman pleaded guilty to harassment by electronic communication in March 2019 for falsifying the Facebook message that caused Roush so much trouble at work.

"Defendants' retaliation against Plaintiff...has interfered with the autonomy of the office as contemplated by statute," the complaint states. 

Roush claims the defendants retaliated against her and discriminated against her based on her gender. 

The plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages. She is represented by Walt Auvil and Kirk Auvil of The Employment Law Center.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 19-C-1057

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