Poca woman claims she was fired after learning she was being taped

By Cara Bailey | Oct 23, 2007

CHARLESTON - A Putnam County woman has filed a suit against her former employer, claiming she was fired after discovering a tape of conversations she was having.

Connie Clark of Poca filed a suit Oct. 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court against S.E. Cemeteries of West Virginia, doing business as Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens.

Clark was employed as a lead administrator in the office located in Cross Lanes until she was fired July 9, 2007.

According to the suit, Clark's supervisor was James Goodman. As part of her job duties, Clark was given access to Goodman's office, desk and computer.

Clark claims that in May 2007, Goodman started making harassing and hostile comments to her. During his tenure as supervisor, several sales counselors resigned, were fired or transferred, the suit says.

According to the suit, Clark contacted Goodman for missing cancellations, which Goodman said were in his office. Clark was given permission to go in his office and find them.

Clark said she looked in the filing cabinets, storage shelves and the top of Goodman's desk, but could not find the papers. She opened one of his desk drawers and noticed a tape recorder.

"Fearful that Mr. Goodman had been recording employees, (Clark) and a sales counselor listened to the tape," the suit says. "To (Clark's) surprise, the tape had recordings of, among other things, (Clark) having conversations with other employees."

Clark claims she never gave Goodman permission to record the conversations, nor did she have knowledge the conversations were by recorded. She put the recorder back in the desk drawer.

According to the suit, Goodman continued to exhibit hostile and harassing behavior toward the plaintiff.

On July 6, 2007, Clark received a call from the Human Resources department about listening to the tape in Goodman's drawer. According to the suit, she did not deny listening to the tape. Clark was fired July 9, 2007, for purportedly violating a company invasion of privacy policy.

According to the suit, Goodman resigned later that day.

In the three-count lawsuit, Clark claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment, that she was fired as an act of retaliation, and that she was subjected to illegal oral surveillance.

Clark seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Charleston attorney Tim J. Yianne of Bell & Bands is representing Clark. The case has been assigned to Judge Paul Zakaib.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-2164

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