Woman sues DHHR for hostile work environment, discrimination

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 17, 2016

CHARLESTON – A woman is suing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health after she claims she was subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment.

CHARLESTON – A woman is suing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health after she claims she was subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment.

Regina G. Banks worked as a Medicolegal Death Investigator with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and, during the course of her employment, she observed and was ordered to engage in illegal and immoral conduct to which she refused, according to a complaint filed April 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Banks claims she was ordered to illegally burn human remains; to make human remains “disappear” in an effort to alleviate the OCME’s backlog of cases; to conceal information from families of decedents to cover up mistakes made by the OCME; to conceal from doctors when decedent’s bodies were mishandled and/or dropped by the OCME.

The plaintiff’s refusal to comply with her supervisors’ order resulted in her being retaliated against and exposed to a hostile work environment, according to the suit.

Banks claims the hostility intensified when she missed work to treat a medical condition and, based on the intolerable work environment, she attempted to resign from her employment and, instead, the defendant discharged her on Nov. 14.

The defendants violated the West Virginia Whistleblower’s Act and the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.

Banks is seeking compensatory damages She is being represented by Todd S. Bailess and Rodney A. Smith of Bailess Smith PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 16-C-642

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