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Claims under the West Virginia Human Rights Act

The West Virginia Human Rights Act is a state law that's designed to be an enhancement of federal anti-discrimination laws -- although many workers are unaware of its existence.

The state law prevents any employer with 12 or more employees from discrimination based on a number of factors:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Familial status

In many cases, an employee who has been discriminated against --- or even unjustly discharged -- may be able to file complaints under both federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

For example, a West Virginian woman complained to her employer about policy violations after she suffered verbal harassment due to her disability and gender. She likened the verbal harassment to actual assault and claims that it caused her significant emotional distress.

After making her complaint, she was disciplined for an unfinished assignment and terminated -- which was contrary to her employer's policies regarding missing assignments. In fact, the plaintiff in the case says that in her time with her former boss -- almost 13 years -- no other employee had ever lost his or her job due to a missing assignment.

She's now seeking damages under the West Virginian Human Rights Act under the theory that her employer violated her rights in regards to both her gender and her disability when the company failed to take action after her original complaint, protect her against further harassment and ultimately retaliating against her for making the complaint in the first place.

Anyone who either knows or suspects that he or she was treated in a discriminatory manner should explore all the legal options available to him or her.

Source: hrc.wv.gov, "West Virginian Human Right Act," accessed Dec. 07, 2017

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