West Virginia Record

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Female employees file class-action against Nippon Thermostat over discrimination allegations

State Court

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 9, 2019


WINFIELD – A class-action lawsuit was filed against Nippon Thermostat of America Corp. (NTAC) by former employees who allege they were discriminated against due to their gender and national origin.

Raigene Thibaut and Patricia Miller were hired by NTAC in 2017 and, because of their gender and/or national origin, they allege there was no chance for upward mobility within the company for either of them, according to a complaint filed in Putnam Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs allege when they applied for advanced positions within the company, those positions were always awarded to someone other than an American woman. The plaintiffs also claim they did not receive equal pay for equal work.

"During their tenure with NTAC, and as a direct and proximate result of their gender and/or national origin, plaintiffs were not paid for work that was actually performed," the complaint states.

Thibaut and Miller allege NTAC's work policies were not uniformly enforced and they were singled out due to their gender and/or national origin and specifically with the arbitrary enforcement of NTAC company policy, while the same perceived infraction committed by men and/or Japanese nationals were ignored, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the defendant's actions violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act.

"...NTAC acted with either the intent to inflict emotional distress on plaintiffs and class members or acted recklessly when it was certain or substantially certain that the plaintiffs and class members would suffer severe emotional distress," the complaint states.

The defendant's alleged actions were a negligent infliction of emotional distress due to NTAC's failure to exercise reasonable care, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by Kathy A. Brown and Timothy D. Houston of Brown Houston in Charleston.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Joseph Reeder.

Putnam Circuit Court case number 19-C-135

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