Women say co-worker sexually harassed them

By Cara Bailey | Jan 23, 2008

CHARLESTON - Three women have filed suits against their employer, claiming they were forced to work in a hostile environment with a co-worker who repeatedly sexually harassed them.

Tammie Parrish, Janice Maynard and Teri Surface filed individual suits Dec. 28 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Anderson Equipment Company and Michael Burke, their manager.

Each woman claims she was repeatedly sexually harassed and physically assaulted by a co-worker, Jim Walker.

According to the suits, Walker inappropriately touched Parrish, including running his hand under her clothing. The suit says Walker also showed pictures of his penis to Parrish and made comments such as asking to "put my face between your boobs."

Maynard claims Walker inappropriately touched her, once pulling her pants away from her body claiming he was looking for a tattoo. He also once asked Maynard to "come sit on Santa's lap and tell him what you want for Christmas," while patting his lap, the suit says.

Surface claims Walker treated her the same as Maynard and Parrish, and once pulled her onto his lap and tried to pull her skirt up so he could "see the top of her hose," the suit says.

Surface claims Walker unbuttoned or unzipped her clothes, inappropriately grabbed her and made numerous comments about her undergarments.

The suits list several other instances where Walker displayed inappropriate conduct and also claims Walker frequently displayed a bad temper and lapsed into rages.

The women claim Walker's conduct created an intimidating, hostile and offensive working environment, which the employer and Burke knew about, but did not take timely and appropriate corrective action to fix the situation.

According to the suits, the women seek damages for indignity, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress, annoyance and inconvenience. They also seek punitive damages.

Attorney Mark A. Atkinson is representing the women.

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