Women say they were sexually harassed, suing Verizon

By John O'Brien | Aug 10, 2006

CHARLESTON - Two Kanawha County women claim they were sexually harassed while employed at Verizon West Virginia.

Cindy Jeffrey and Season Groom filed a lawsuit July 28 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Verizon and their former supervisor Michael Stewart.

"Defendant Michael Stewart, within the scope of his employment, subjected the plaintiffs to sexual harassment in their workplace," the complaint says. "This harassment included, among other things, unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome physical touching and unwelcome and consistent sexual innuendo or physical contact.

"The sexual harassment of the plaintiffs was severe and pervasive."

Jeffrey also claims that she was wrongfully fired in Sept. 2005 after refusing Stewart's sexual advances, and that Verizon knew or should have known what was going on.

She adds that she was rehired in February but was again fired. She said it "was a direct result of her missing employment opportunities and time from work related to her first unlawful termination."

The two charge the defendants with sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, retaliatory discharge, gender discrimination and strict liability.

They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages and court costs.

Mark Atkinson of Charleston law firm Atkinson and Polak is representing the plaintiffs.

Judge Irene Berger has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-1480

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