Thursday, March 23, 2017

Man accuses Tri-State Airport (KHTS) Authority of sexual discrimination

HUNTINGTON – A man is suing Tri-State Airport Authority after he claims he was discriminated against based on his sexual orientation.

Karen Adkins and Paul Butcher were also named as defendants in the suit.

Richard Anthony Napier began working for the airport in November 2014, according to a complaint filed March 7 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Napier claims during the course of his employment, he experienced derogatory comments about his sexual orientation from co-workers.

At one point, a co-worker said a derogatory statement in the presence of Adkins, Napier’s supervisor and boss, according to the suit.

Napier claims he was reprimanded by an officer at one point in front of eight other employees, despite the fact that he had followed procedures properly and he told the officer that he had followed procedures and invited him to look back at the security footage for proof.

“The officer dropped the subject and proceeded to tell plaintiff about a time he had pulled over ‘two fag-homos’ he had caught having sex,” the complaint states. “He then began to describe the incident in detail, making lude, mocking gestures and mimicking the sexual encounter. Everyone present laughed, but several employees approached plaintiff later and apologized, saying they meant no offense to him.”

Napier claims he worked part time for the airport and part time for a hair salon and one day, in early June, he was asked to work, but he informed the airport he could not because he had a client scheduled in the salon at that time.

Later, Butcher came to the salon and told him he needed to come to work, which Napier felt was an invasion of privacy, according to the suit.

Napier claims he heard degrading statements daily toward homosexuals at the airport by other employees.

The defendants had actual knowledge of Napier’s sexual orientation and, despite this, the defendants’ conduct in allowing the discriminatory actions constitutes a clear violation of Huntington Municipal Ordinance 147.08, according to the suit.

Napier claims the defendants bullied him and their unwelcome conduct of mistreatment and abuse toward him was sufficiently severe and pervasive as to alter the conditions of employment so as to create an abusive work environment.

The defendants retaliated against Napier and terminated his employment for reporting illegal conduct, which is a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.

Napier is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Mark L. French of The Law Office of Mark L. French.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 17-C-150

Original article can be found here:

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