West Virginia Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

DOH employee claims sexual discrimination

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 22, 2006

CHARLESTON – A state Division of Highways employee says she has been sexually discriminated against after repeated unsuccessful attempts at promotions.

Anna Campbell filed the lawsuit against the DOH and current supervisor Ben Savilla on Jan. 26 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In the suit, Campbell says she joined the DOH in December 1991 as a flagger. In 1992, she was hired as an office assistant. And she says she has performed her job duties in a professional, satisfactory and even exemplary manner.

Campbell, who is represented by attorney Kristina Thomas Whiteaker, says she applied for and interviewed for an investigator position in the division's legal department in February 2004.

The next month, Campbell claims Savilla notified her that she would not be hired for the position because "he is not hiring any more women in the position of investigator."

"Campbell has been denied the opportunity for promotion to investigator within the legal department," the suit states. "During the course of her employment, less qualified – and often under qualified – males were promoted instead of Ms. Campbell."

Campbell also says she has been denied equal access to equipment, training and status associated with her job.

Among other things, she says DOH employees intimidated and humiliated her through verbal threats and attacks, unjustly demeaned her work performance because she was female and continuously monitored every move she makes at work including requiring her to ask for permission to use the bathroom.

In addition, Campbell says the DOH doesn't have an effective grievance reporting procedure. When she did complain, she says it as met with hostility, derision, threats of retaliation and actual retaliation.

As a result of the division's "unlawful employment practices" and repeated discrimination against her, Campbell says she has suffered economic loss, emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, fear, apprehension, embarrassment, depression, aggravation, annoyance, inconvenience and a loss of capacity to enjoy life.

Campbell claims the DOH is guilty of violating the state Human Rights Act; sexual discrimination; negligent hiring, supervision and retention; and aiding and abetting.

She seeks a declaratory judgment saying the division's acts are in violation of West Virginia Code and a permanent injunction against the DOH "ordering it to establish an ongoing employment discrimination training program for its employees, in order to prevent future sex discrimination and to foster a gender friendly work environment."

She also wants a permanent injunction ordering the DOH to create and implement a grievance reporting procedure "so employees will feel unencumbered to report incidents." She also seeks another permanent injunction ordering the DOH to create and implement an equitable, non-discriminatory and unambiguous promotion policy.

She seeks compensatory damages to be determined at trial for the emotional and mental distress, humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, aggravation, annoyance, inconvenience and loss of capacity to enjoy life. She also seeks compensation for any and all economic losses, punitive damages, court costs, attorney fees, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief.

Campbell requests a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-140

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