Former Big Lots employee says he was fired after rejecting manager's advances

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Nov 16, 2018

CHARLESTON — A Kanawha County man is suing a retail store, alleging retaliation, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

B.A. filed a complaint Sept. 26 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Big Lots Stores Inc., doing business as dba Big Lots and Krista Smith, alleging violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 5, 2017, B.A. began working as a sales lead in the Big Lots furniture store in Kanawha County until his wrongful termination June 15, 2018. B.A. says he was terminated due to his complaints of sexual harassment from Smith, the store's general manager. 

B.A. says Smith inappropriately and inexcusably began repeatedly sexually harassing him both inside and outside of work. He says it included sexual comments and accosting as well as sexual text messages.

B.A. says he and Smith eventually did engage in sexual activity for a "very brief period of time." But when he wished to cease such contact and began to resist her advances, B.A. says Smith began writing him up for violations for which there had never been any previous issues. 

The plaintiff alleges Big Lots and Smith terminated B.A.'s employment as retaliation for his refusal to engage in inappropriate sexual activity with his boss, despite being coerced and threatened into doing so.

B.A. seeks trial by jury, damages, equitable relief, costs of action, pre-and post-judgment interest and all further proper relief. He is represented by attorneys Shawn R. Romano and Miles B. Berger of Romano & Associates PLLC in Charleston.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 18-C-1226

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Kanawha Circuit Court Romano and Associates, PLLC

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