Sexual harassment is harmful and may have a significant and negative impact on workers in West Virginia. Verbal and physical harassment is degrading, it may make victims feel unsafe, and it may even cause victims to seek medical treatment for emotional injuries. Sadly, after suffering these harmful effects, some women and men may also lose their jobs.
Although it is illegal, some employers fire workers for complaining about harassment. In other cases, employees may feel forced to quit their jobs in order to get out of a hostile work environment. When West Virginia workers are in these types of situations, though, they should understand that they have every right to take legal action against their employers. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, and it is illegal for employers to ignore employees' complaints of harassment.
Last month, two women finally decided to pursue a lawsuit against their employer in order to protect their rights that were violated two years ago while working at WV Durable Medical Equipment Co. LLC. The women have stated that they were harassed on several occasions, and after complaining about the harassment, they were both fired during the summer of 2011.
The women were not subjected to one vulgar joke or one sexual comment. The women state that they were subjected to numerous inappropriate comments made by a male employee that included vulgar and abusive language and sexually suggestive remarks. The lawsuit, which was filed May 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court, states that the male employee's behavior created a hostile work environment. Another male employee was aware of the behavior, but no actions were taken to put a stop to the sexual harassment.
Both women were eventually terminated for complaining about the male employee's actions, the lawsuit claims.
After learning of what was going on, the employer should have investigated the workers' complaints in order to put an end to the harassment and to create a safer workplace for the women and other workers. However, this did not happen.
Instead, the women were wrongfully punished for speaking up about the male worker's alleged inappropriate behavior. The women are now requesting compensation from their employer for failing to protect their rights and for causing more harm by firing them.
Source: The West Virginia Record, "Women say WV Durable Medical wrongfully terminated their employment," Kyla Asbury, June 6, 2013