A former employee of Assessor Brian K. Thomas is suing the Jackson County Commission over workplace harassment.
The plaintiff in the case, Kristi Jordan, alleges the county allowed her co-workers to harass her, creating a hostile work environment. Jordan filed suit in January through counsel D. Adrian Hoosier II. She claims the defendants violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and caused her damages. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
The case has been assigned to Judge Lora Dyer.
According to the complaint, Jordan was employed by the Jackson County Commission as a deputy in the assessor's office from May 5, 2015, to Feb. 21, 2017, earning $19,000 a year and working 40 hours a week at the time of her resignation.
During her time in the assessor's office, two of Jordan's co-workers frequently yelled at her and spoke about her, including in her presence, in a derogatory and unprofessional manner, the suit alleges. One of these individuals was assigned to train Jordan and frequently belittled her during the training.
“The actions of these two employees caused Jordan to become anxious, scared, upset, depressed and forced her to cry regularly, lose sleep, seek professional and medical help, and caused family problems,” Hoosier wrote in his complaint against the county.
Jordan asked the employees to stop their conduct, but they refused. Thomas allegedly denied a request from Jordan to work in a space away from the co-workers who were allegedly causing her problems.
Jordan also asked Thomas to address her concerns. At one point, Thomas said he would address the situation, but then apologized to at least one of the offending employees the following day, the complaint states.
The lawsuit alleges Thomas did not adequately address the concerns brought to his attention.
Jordan was a new employee and the employees who were treating her in an inappropriate and unprofessional manner were “longer-term” employees, according to court documents. The two offending employees also were sisters, the complaint states.
On Feb. 21, 2017, Jordan requested a transfer to another division. Thomas allegedly denied the transfer and told Jordan if she wasn't happy with her employment, she could turn in her keys, according to the lawsuit. Jordan left her employment the same day.
According to the lawsuit, Jordan also was sexually harassed by her coworkers, who allegedly made comments about her being pregnant without being married and not knowing who would be the father of the child.