CHARLESTON - A Putnam County woman is suing her former employer claiming sexual harassment by a co-worker led to her termination.
Anna Marie Reynolds states in a lawsuit filed Feb. 23 in Kanawha Circuit Court that her time at Better Foods Inc. was marred by harassment and that her right to request certain accommodations for her disabilities were ignored.
"Plaintiff was subjected to unwanted and uninitiated sexual advances, inappropriate touching, suggestions, innuendos, comments and threats of adverse employment actions by her co-worker and supervisory employee, Paul Niedbalski," the lawsuit says.
It adds that Niedbalski intentionally and negligently refused to provide Reynolds certain accommodations for her fibrositis and fibromyalgia.
She also alleges that others in the company were aware of the harassment provided by Niedbalski.
"Supervisors, managers, officers and principals, including but not limited to its President Oshel Craigo, were aware of the sexual harassment of plaintiff by Paul Niedbalski," the complaint states.
Reynolds was actively employed at Better Foods from Dec. 8, 1996-Feb. 26, 2004 and inactively employed until Aug. 2, 2004, when she was informed via letter that her employment had been terminated.
She had gone into the state of inactive employment after an incident on Feb. 25 when, she says, Niedbalski entered her office, locked the door behind him, began making unwanted advances toward her and threatened her with physical violence.
Reynolds says she was so upset that she lost consciousness and wound up with Major Anxiety Depression Disorder to the extent that she was unable to continue gainful employment.
When Reynolds told Better Foods she could not work near Niedbalski, she was terminated, the complaint states.
She charges Better Foods with a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act by not responding to the harassment she claims her superiors knew about and for not processing her request for disability benefits.
Reynolds is represented by Arthur J. Chmiel. Judge Duke Bloom has been assigned the case.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-351