CHARLESTON - A former employee of West Virginia Steel Corporation claims he was the victim of racial harassment by the company.

Edward Reed filed a suit Feb. 1 in Kanawha Circuit Court against his former employer. Reed was employed by West Virginia Steel from September to December in 2005. Reed was the only African-American in the plant, the complaint states.

He claims the work environment was filled with racist slurs, taunts, remarks, veiled threats and assaults, as well as racist motifs prominently placed around the work place. Reed claims his supervisor was aware of the racist environment and elected to do nothing.

The suit claims the hostile work place environment is a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act. The suit also says that through its employees, West Virginia Steel Corporation caused extreme emotional distress to Reed.

Reed seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

He is represented by Michael D. Payne, and the case has been assigned to Judge Tod Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-227

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