The Register-Herald is reporting that the town of Rainelle, West Virginia is facing two wrongful termination lawsuits from former police officers. Both lawsuits claim the ex-officers’ firings were “arbitrary, capricious, discriminating and politically motivated” and that each suffered damage to their reputation as well as economic damages. In addition, both suits maintain that West Virginia law was violated when neither man was given notice nor the chance to be heard prior to adverse action being taken.
Michael Harper, one of the ex-officers, claims his police chief told him that he was being terminated “due to his previously leaving early due to a medical condition.” While the other former police officer filing suit, Thomas Lowe, claims he was told that he “was the lowest on the totem pole, so to speak, and in order (for the town) to employ a new officer,” he had to go.
Rainelle Mayor Andrea Pendleton has acknowledged that she is aware of both lawsuits but declined to comment. Rainelle’s insurance carrier is handling its defense against both suits. A hearing has yet to be scheduled in either matter.
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