Court action alleges bus driver was victim of “constructive discharge”

Oconee School District and its workers compensation insurance company, Star Net, are named defendants in a lawsuit for a school bus driver who claims she lost her job because she filed claims for workers’ compensation. The lawsuit was filed electronically over the weekend in the Oconee Common Pleas Court by Charleston attorney Thomas Bailey Smith on behalf of school bus driver Teresa Maney. It claims that on April 25 last year Maney injured her right wrist while operating a school bus steering wheel and reported the injury the next day. She later won her case at the Workers’ Compensation Commission, but Star Net paid only some of her medical bills and that “with the authorization and consent of School District, terminated Plaintiff’s workers’ compensation benefits without cause and for the sole purpose of helping School District terminate Plaintiff’s employment with School District.” The plaintiff’s attorney calls what happened to his client a “constructive discharge”—keeping her as an employee on the payroll, but at the same time not paying her and not placing her in a job even though, he says, she got a doctor’s note releasing her from medical care. The plaintiff alleges conspiracy on part of the defendants and seeks a jury trial for multiple damages.