CHARLESTON - A woman is suing the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, and her former supervisor for sexual harassment she says she endured as a temporary employee there.

Jennifer Cantrell claims in a lawsuit filed March 20 in Kanawha Circuit Court that James Lane made inappropriate comments and advances toward her.

She says the incident also kept her from becoming a full-time employee with the Division of Highways, which had hired her for a 160-day period to be an office assistant.

She says she had been told she would become a full-time employee after her temporary period was up, but that never happened.

On June 23, the complaint says, Lane asked Cantrell to meet him in an office, where he began touching her in an inappropriate manner. When Cantrell backed away and asked why he was doing that, he responded, "Because you have a cute little ass."

Cantrell says she immediately reported the incident to the Department of Highways' main office and recounted her story three times to various parties. After she made the allegation, she was reassigned to a file room where she finished out her employment and was not offered a full-time job.

During her time there, Cantrell also claims that Lane told her that she had a cute butt and requested, "Let's just get naked."

Matthew S. Criswell is representing Cantrell. Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-507




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