CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTRF) — The West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways (DOT) is being sued by a woman claiming she was discriminated against and lost her job, reported the West Virginia Record.

Jimmy Wriston, Cabinet Secretary and Commissioner of Highways, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Melissa Prince, medically diagnosed with lupus, worked for the defendants successfully since 2015. Since 2017, she was allowed to work from home, according to documents filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Prince claims that she supplied reports from her health care provider on two occasions that her lupus establishes a legitimate basis for remote work as a reasonable accommodation. 

The defendants demanded that Prince report to work at the office in 2022, which resulted in her termination, according to the suit.

Due to her illness, Prince stated she could not successfully perform the essential duties of her job outside of her home without risking serious harm to her mental and physical well-being.

From 2015 to 2017, Prince worked for the defendants in the office, but in 2017, she began to work remotely. At first, she worked two days a week and then extended that to full-time work from home, according to the suit.

Prince claims during the Covid-19 pandemic she continued to work from home.

In 2021, it was asked to complete formal paperwork to continue working from home. This paperwork was never requested before, and she complied and continued to work from home.

On January 26, the defendant told her she needed to return back to the office full time for work.

The defendant modified the work location, twice in March, but still refused to allow her to continue to work from home indefinitely, according to the suit.

Prince continued to advocate for herself and her work needs with her illness, reminding the defendant that she had always excelled at her job while working from home. They refused and demanded that she return her work computer and equipment.

Prince claimed in her suit that the defendants discriminated against her based on her disability and failed to accommodate her.

She is represented by Hoyt Glazer, Abraham Saad and Eric B. Anderson of Glazer Saad Anderson in Huntington, and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest.

The case was originally assigned to Circuit Judge Tera Salango and was later transferred to Circuit Judge Louis Bloom.