Mother, son sue Bayer for emotional distress

By Kyla Asbury | May 1, 2015

CHARLESTON – A mother and son are suing Bayer Material Science LLC after they claim their supervisor caused them emotional distress.

Randy Hively, a supervisor for BMS, was also name as a defendant in the suit.

Rebecca Martin has worked as a chemical operator for the defendant and its predecessors for 27 years and her son, Martin Powers, began his employment as a chemical operator with the defendant on June 26, 2013, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In March 2014, Martin began experiencing a dull pain in his right kidney and passing blood in his urine and in June, he underwent a company physical, where the nurse practitioner advised him to consult his family physician because of the presence of blood in his urine.

The plaintiffs claim on July 27, Hively accused Powers of sleeping on the job and terminated his employment.

A few hours after terminated Powers' employment, Hively requested another employee, Chris Hoskins, who was a union steward, to watch Martin's job while she moved her vehicle over to the mainland.

The plaintiffs claim Hoskins informed Hively that, given the circumstances, he should not accompany Martin by himself, but Hively ignored the advice and told Martin she needed to accompany him when she took her car over to the mainland.

After driving and parking her car on the mainland, Martin got into Hively's truck and Hively began to tell her how sorry he was about everything and how much he had liked Powers and Martin began crying, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Hively then began rubbing Martin's shoulder and telling her about his daughter getting fired from her job and told her if she needed to talk to someone, how would be there for her.

When Martin returned to her job station, she immediately reported to Hoskins and Hoskins informed her that Hively had planned the encounter before she had even arrived at the plant, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim later that morning, Martin told her supervisor, known as Mr. Harris, about the incident and he allowed her to go home. Since the incident, Martin has suffered anxiety and emotional distress, which resulted in her inability to work from August until Oct. 1.

Although Martin missed more than a month of work because of the defendants' actions that she claims constitute sexual harassment, she had not received full compensation for her missed work, despite having made several requests, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim following Hively's inappropriate, improper and non-consensual touching and rubbing on Martin, a rumor circulated around the workplace that Martin allegedly performed sexual favors for Hively in the parking lot in an effort to get her son's job back.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Hoyt Glazer, Ben Sheridan and Mitchell L. Klein of Klein, Sheridan & Glazer LC.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-594

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