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Defense agency agreed discrimination happened, denied cause

Virtually all working parents in West Virginia contend with the same, overwhelming issue -- child care. Finding appropriate and affordable child care can be incredibly difficult, but one out-of-state woman thought she found a possible solution when she requested to telecommute once a week. Now, her discrimination lawsuit against the Defense Security Service is advancing in a federal court.

The woman was already working from home every Wednesday prior to the birth of her son. Upon her return to work, she was initially permitted to continue working from home once per week to supplement her child care needs. However, she says all of that changed when a new supervisor was brought in. The new supervisor told her that she was no longer allowed to work from home on Wednesdays, and also denied a request from the employee to return to a previous schedule which allowed her to simply be off on Wednesdays.

Male employees had allegedly been permitted to use work-from-home schedules to supplement child care, and the woman went on to file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity office at the agency. She claims that she was ostracized. The agency conducted an internal investigation and agreed that she had been forced to deal with a hostile workplace, but claimed that it was not in retaliation to her schedule-related requests.

The agency's response left her feeling dissatisfied, and she moved forward with a lawsuit, seeking related compensation. Since the suit's filing other women have apparently come forward with similar complaints of gender discrimination. This highlights the importance of similar cases in West Virginia, which not only seek compensation for victims, but also help create an environment in which improvement can be made.

Source: stripes.com, "Woman says she was harassed at defense agency over child-care issues", Rachel Weiner, Nov. 11, 2017

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