Kanawha couple says wife was sexually discriminated against by Job Corps, employees
Chris Dickerson Jan. 30, 2006, 3:25pm
Charleston Job Corps Center
CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County couple has sued the owner and operator of the Charleston Job Corps Center and two of its employees for sexual harassment and discrimination they say the wife endured as an employee.
Michelle and Mervin Davis filed the lawsuit Jan. 12 in Kanawha Circuit Court. The defendants are Management & Training Corp., James Bradley and Velva Chamberlain.
In the suit, the Davis' says Bradley and Chamberlain "continuously and consistently made sexual comments and remarks both to and about Mrs. Davis and otherwise created a hostile working environment because of Mrs. Davis' gender."
Michelle Davis says she was an instructor at the facility, located at 1000 Kennawa Drive,.
The actions became so severe, the suit alleges, that Michelle Davis was forced to complain to other supervisor employees of MTC, to seek counseling and to file the suit. She says she made Bradley, Chamberlain and MTC aware that she did not approve of such conduct, but she says the defendants continued to act in such a manner.
One example mentioned in the lawsuit, filed by New Cumberland attorney James T. Carey, claims "Bradley told a coworker in a roomful of students that Mrs. Davis was watching pornographic movies at his house and that he wanted to give Mrs. Davis 'a pickle to play with.'"
The suit also states that "Bradley has called Mrs. Davis a 'bitch' on numerous occasions."
When Bradley's conduct was reported to Chamberlain, the suit alleges that "Chamberlain wrongly accused Mrs. Davis of having previously waved a cucumber in front of her in a sexually suggestive manner."
Also, the couple claims that "Chamberlain asked MTC students to execute false statements regarding the incident with the pickle and Mrs. Davis' actions."
"Rather than investigate the sexual harassment, (MTC) has gone to great lengths to cover it up," they allege.
The Davis' say Michelle Davis was a victim of discrimination under the West Virginia Human Rights Act, slander and emotional distress.
Because of the defendants' alleged actions, Davis says she has suffered emotional distress, has been the subject of ridicule, has had to seek mental health counseling, has had difficulty with marital relations and has seen her career and reputation suffer.
In addition, she says she also has suffered both general and special damages. Her husband claims he has suffered emotional distress and a loss of consortium.
They seek a judgment against the defendants for all damages permissible under state law, including punitive damages, attorney fees and other relief.
Job Corps is the nation's largest residential, education and job training program for at-risk youth ages 16 through 24. Since its inception in 1964, Job Corps has provided more than 2 million at-risk young people with academic, vocational, and social training needed to gain independence and get quality, long-term jobs or further their education.
Locally, the Charleston Job Corps Center gives students the opportunity to earn a GED, high school diploma and college education opportunities available at West Virginia State University. The center has specialized hands-on training in a variety of fields such a automotive mechanics, culinary arts and painting. And it has work-based learning opportunities with more than 50 local businesses.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-48