Beckley woman says she was victim of harassment, discrimination

By Audrey Holsclaw | Apr 17, 2008

BECKLEY -- A Raleigh County woman claims she was sexually harassed and discriminated against by her manager.

Noelle Clyburn of Beckley was employed by Laurel Mountain Medical which is owned by Rotech Home Medical Care, Inc. Clyburn was a sales representative for McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh, and Wyoming counties, and under the company's structure, she worked under direct supervision of an unnamed manager.

In the complaint, originally filed on Feb. 21, the suit alleges that Clyburn was subjected to numerous unwelcome advances and gross sexual misconduct in her working environment. She also claims that because of her rejection of her manager, she was retaliated against and passed over for promotions.

In the suit filed by Christopher Lefler of the Beckley firm of Lefler & Boggs, Clyburn states that she was sexually assaulted, shown pornographic pictures and videos, sent explicit text messages, and that her manager requested sexual acts and meetings for sexual purposes all the while offering work incentives and advancement if she agreed.

Clyburn is seeking a trial by jury to award punitive damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, aggravation, inconvenience, damage to her reputation, and attorney's fees. She is also seeking compensation from her loss of a promotion.

Clyburn and Lefler filed the complaint in Circuit Court of McDowell County, and now, Laurel Mountain Medical and Rotech Home Medical Care, Inc. are seeking a removal from the Circuit Court of McDowell County to the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Filed by Stephanie Ojeda and Jeffrey Foster of the Charleston firm of Spilman Thomas Battle, the removal is being sought by the defendants because the amount Clyburn is seeking could amount to more than $75,000. Also, the notice of removal, filed on March 25, 2008, states that Rotech Home Medical Care, Inc. and Laurel Mountain Medical are Orlando, Florida, corporations. Because of these reasons, Rotech Home Medical Care, Inc. and Laurel Mountain Medical believe the Untied States District Court has jurisdiction.

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