CHARLESTON – A woman is suing Charleston Area Medical Center after she claims it created a hostile work environment.
Christine Oskin and Phillip Jerome Furrow were also named as defendants in the suit.
The woman, who goes by the alias Jane Doe in the complaint, first had contact with Furrow was when she was 18 years old and working as a radiology student and tech assistant at Appalachian Regional Hospital in Beckley in early 2003, according to a complaint filed March 3 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Doe claims she was assigned to the hospital’s radiology department, where Furrow worked, and, during one of their working sessions, Furrow reached down her shirt and groped her breasts. The plaintiff did not report the incident for fear of being kicked out of the radiology technology program and that her chances of future employment in the Beckley area may have been jeopardized.
Furrow approached Doe a week later and made further sexual advances toward her and she did not report the actions as she was afraid she would be kicked out of school, according to the suit.
Doe claims she kept her mouth shut, finished her program and graduated from college. Furrow attempted to recruit her to work as a paid radiology technologist under his supervision, but she declined and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 2005, Doe moved back to West Virginia and took a job at CAMC, according to the suit.
Doe claims she learned in 2012 that Furrow was applying for a job at CAMC and, while she informed her co-workers of his actions, she did not inform hiring personnel, assuming they would do their “due diligence” and investigate Furrow’s work history before hiring him.
Furrow was hired and, after a few weeks, he was promoted to a position where he had supervisory authority over Doe.
Doe claims Furrow approached her and noted that there appeared to be “weirdness” between them and advised her that she should not feel uncomfortable around him and that he would keep things professional.
However, Furrow later asked her about her weekend plans and she advised him that this was not “keeping it professional” and he also inquired about how her marriage was going and whether or not she missed what had happened between them while she was in school, according to the suit.
Doe claims Furrow constantly tried to work with her and sexually harassed her.
Furrow also had sexual relationships with employees and propositioned others, according to the suit. However, numerous complaints with the hospital and Oskin about Furrow’s behavior fell on deaf ears.
Doe claims Oskin took no action concerning Furrow’s behavior.
Frustrated with Oskin’s complete lack of disciplinary action toward Furrow, she contacted CEO Andrew Weber and asked for a meeting to address Furrow’s history of inappropriate behavior toward her and her co-workers, according to the suit.
Doe claims 30 minutes after her meeting with Weber, Oskin called her and loudly berated her for going over her head and for making her look bad and making her job more difficult. She also told Doe she was “being ridiculous” with her allegations.
Furrow’s employment was terminated on June 5, after an investigation into his behavior revealed that he had been acting in a sexually inappropriate manner with several of his current and former female employees, according to the suit.
Doe claims the defendants created a hostile working environment and violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
Doe is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by David M. Adkins of the Adkins Law Firm.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 17-C-304