Health

West Virginia Bus Driver Files Discrimination Lawsuit, Believes He Was Fired For His Weight

| by Brendan Kelly

 A West Virginia bus driver has filed a lawsuit that claims he is a victim of discrimination in the workplace and was wrongfully fired due to his weight.

Mike Holden of Lewis County believes he was fired because the Board of Education discriminated against him due to his weight. He called the reasons for his firing "unjust and discriminatory." 

The case may go to trial.

The situation began when Holden fell off of his tractor and was not able to work. While he was away from work, he had weight loss surgery. When he returned to work in 2012, he said he was discriminated against for his weight.

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According to Holden, after working a day and a half, he was asked to perform an agility test. He said the test is given to new bus drivers, but not existing ones. He had been a bus driver for 13 years already at the time.

The board argues that the test is sometimes given to existing drivers as well.

"I feel that I've been discriminated against because I'm the only bus driver, old or existing driver, in Lewis County that has had to take this physical agility test," said Holden. "And I feel like because of my weight that was an issue for them, but if it was such an issue, why did the board let me drive a day and a half if they was concerned about the safety of the students?"

Holden did not pass the test and the Board of Education subsequently voted unanimously to fire him. Holden wanted it noted that board member Debbie Clem was not involved in the vote.

The complaint filed says that an agility test is not recognized as a basis for the firing of public school employees in West Virginia.

After a long grievance process and a court visit on Aug. 13, a judge will decide if the case will go to a jury trial.

Holden said that he would like to be compensated for lost work and that he would also like his job back.

He now must wait for the judge's decision.

Sources: InquisitrWDTV / Photo credit: Inquisitr