Berkeley woman says she was fired for refusing boss's advances

By Kelly Holleran | Sep 23, 2009

MARTINSBURG -– A Berkeley County woman claims she was terminated from her job after she refused her boss's repeated sexual advances toward her.

MARTINSBURG -– A Berkeley County woman claims she was terminated from her job after she refused her boss's repeated sexual advances toward her.

Keleigh J. Payne claims she worked from July 18, 2008, through May 7 for Joseph Bowers, doing business as Bowers Mobility.

While working for Bowers, Payne claims she was repeatedly subjected to offensive harassment.

Bowers would repeatedly make comments about Payne's breasts and buttocks, harassed her to reserve a single hotel room for both him and her at several different business conferences, then became angry when she refused to share a room and asked Payne to go into the break room to have oral sex with him, according to the complaint filed Aug. 10 in Berkeley Circuit Court.

In addition, Bowers grabbed Payne's buttocks, stuck a power drill in between her legs and turned it on and commented on her undergarments, the suit states.

Finally, Bowers was guilty of "telling Plaintiff that Defendant would give Plaintiff a raise if Plaintiff slept with Defendant," the complaint says.

Because Payne refused Bowers's advances, she says she was terminated on May 7. After she was fired, Payne was not timely paid all wages required by the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act, the suit states.

Because of her termination, Payne says she has suffered humiliation, embarrassment, loss of dignity, mental and emotional distress and lost earnings.

Payne is seeking general damages, lost earnings, anticipated lost future earnings, liquidated damages, attorney's fees, punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and costs.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number: 09-C-645

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