If you experienced sexual harassment at a small company, West Virginia courts have found that you have a right to file a claim to hold the harasser and the company accountable. For this reason, you might be better off filing a claim in West Virginia state court instead of federal court.
At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects an employee from sex-based discrimination. This protection and others, however, only apply to employers with 15 or more employees. This means that if you work for a small company with fewer than 15 employees, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) probably won’t help you.
Fortunately for employees in West Virginia, however, state law lowers this threshold to 12 employees. The West Virginia Human Rights Act (WVHRA) protects employees from sexual harassment when their employers have 12 or more employees, which could make a big difference for you.
However, do not give up hope if your employer has fewer than 12 employees. West Virginia Courts have repeatedly found sexual harassment violates an established West Virginia public policy. Therefore, you can still hold those who are responsible accountable even if your employer has fewer than 12 employees.
Public Policy Claims Against Sexual Harassment in West Virginia
The West Virginia Supreme Court has repeatedly found that employees who work for employers with fewer than 12 employees can still pursue a common law (or public policy) claim “for retaliatory discharge based on sex discrimination or sexual harassment because sex discrimination and sexual harassment violate this State's public policy.” See Williamson v. Greene, 200 W. Va. 421, 490 S.E.2d 23 (1997).
In other words, sexual harassment is a violation of public policy in West Virginia, and an employee can pursue relief for sexual harassment at work by filing a public policy claim, regardless of the size of their employer’s payroll.
If You Experienced Sexual Harassment, We Can Help
Our attorneys at Rod Smith Law PLLC fight hard for our clients. It is what we do. If you experienced sexual harassment at work, we would be happy to evaluate your claim for free and help you fight to get the justice you deserve. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients and pride ourselves on holding wrongdoers accountable. Our clients do not have to pay us anything unless you recover.
We understand that this can be a confusing and stressful time for you. We would like to have the opportunity to help you move forward and feel good about the future. If you want to learn more about how we can help, reach out to Rod Smith Law PLLC today.