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Employment Lawyers in Charleston, West Virginia

Also Serving the Areas of Morgantown, Clarksburg and Parkersburg

With Bailess Law Firm, you can expect unmatched representation. We pride ourselves on our dedication to our clients. A trusted name in West Virginia employment law, Bailess Law Firm focuses on cases involving workplace sexual harassment or retaliation. If you've been sexually harassed by an employer or were targeted for reporting unsafe conditions or unlawful treatment, we can help you fight for the accountability and compensation you deserve.

Skilled Legal Counsel & Compassionate Support for Employees Facing Sexual Harassment or Retaliation in West Virginia

You work hard to make ends meet, and you have a right to do it in an environment that's safe and free from harassment, retaliation, and other types of mistreatment or abuse. Unfortunately, not all employers are committed to making the workplace safe for their employees.

If you were sexually harassed on the job or became a target of retaliation after reporting harassment or unsafe working conditions, it's easy to feel like you're stuck between a rock and a hard place with no good options. You could stay in the job and continue to endure a hostile or degrading work environment or speak up and risk losing your income. 

Whether you've already been forced out of your job or are still there debating what to do next, one thing is certain: You need a skilled employment attorney. Thankfully, you've come to the right firm.

Honest, Understanding, & Experienced

At Bailess Law Firm, we understand how frightening and unsettling it can be to suddenly find yourself without a job or a source of income — and we're here to help. Forget everything you've heard about "at-will" employment; there are exceptions to protect you from an employer's unlawful behavior. 

Talk to us about your case. We'll listen without judgment, explain your legal rights and potential options for compensation, and work to build a strong case for damages.

Call (304) 841-0037 or contact us online to discuss your case with an employment lawyer in Charleston, WV.

  • Sensitivity and understanding.

    If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, you may not feel comfortable discussing your experience with a male attorney. We’re mindful of your concerns and we have a team who can assist you comprised of a female attorney and paralegals.

  • Discretion and confidentiality.
    We value your confidentiality and the sensitive nature of being sexually harassed or retaliated in the workplace. Conversations between attorneys and clients are protected, and your privacy is important to us.
  • Honesty and integrity.
    When you've been wronged by someone in a position of power, it can be hard to know who to trust. We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards so you can feel confident in our counsel.
  • Compassionate client support.
    We know you've been through a lot, so we work diligently to make this difficult time as painless as possible, providing encouragement, guidance, validation, and support throughout the litigation process.
  • Experienced and dedicated representation.
    We put our extensive knowledge and skills to work for you, and we are committed to doing what is best for your case. That means we will never settle for less just to avoid going to trial.
  • West Virginia Association for Justice
  • West Virginia Bar Association

Hear Why Our Clients Trust Us

  • He values each client, makes them feel comfortable, and listens without judgment.

    “Todd Bailess is professional, accommodating, and compassionate.”

    -Kaylie G.

  • Todd Bailess and his firm gets it, they get you.

    “They work hard to take excellent care of their clients.”

    -Christopher T.

  • Very professional, responsive, great experience!

    “Todd is highly motivated and attentive to the needs of his clients.”

    -Lisa D.

  • They were always proactive and kept my best interest in mind.

    “I highly recommend you turn to the Bailess Law Firm for honest and straight forward help with your legal issues.”

    -David M.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Quid pro quo harassment is a form of illegal workplace discrimination. If you've been sexually propositioned at work, you may have heard the term “quid pro quo,” and wondered what it meant and whether it describes what you've experienced. Here's what you need to know about quid pro quo sexual harassment in West Virginia, including how our empathetic attorneys can help you recover damages if you've suffered this type of unlawful employment discrimination.

    Defining Quid Pro Quo Harassment and Learning to Recognize it in the Workplace

    Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning “this for that,” “something for something,” or “a favor for a favor.” When used in a workplace setting, the term describes a particularly insidious type of sexual harassment in which a supervisor, manager, or business owner uses a worker's willingness—or unwillingness—to engage in sexual conduct as a basis for making decisions about their employment.

    Quid pro quo harassment is what comes to mind for most people when thinking of on-the-job sexual harassment, since it's the kind most commonly shown in pop culture. You may have seen this sort of harassment play out in popular movies like “Legally Blonde,” “Horrible Bosses” or “Disclosure.” Here are just a few examples of what it might look like in your workplace:

    • An employer decides whether to hire, promote, or fire you based on your acceptance or rejection of sexual advances or requests for sexual favors
    • A supervisor gives or promises raises, promotions, more favorable assignments or shifts, or other job-related opportunities in exchange for engaging in sexual acts
    • A manager threatens to reduce your hours, move you to a less favorable shift or position, fire you, or do something else to negatively affect your job or income if you refuse or discontinue sexual contact
    • An employer bases your performance review on whether you comply with their sexual demands, rather than how well you do your job

    Think you've experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment in employment? You may be entitled to compensation for damages.

    Legal Protections for Workers

    Sexually intimidating and harassing employees isn't just morally or ethically wrong, it's against the law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex-based discrimination in employment, including sexual harassment, and applies to companies with 15 or more employees. The West Virginia Human Rights Act (WVHRA), which offers even broader protections, also prohibits employers from engaging in this type of illegal conduct. It applies to employers in the Mountain State with 12 or more workers.

    We Can Help You Hold Your Employer Accountable for Sexual Harassment

    Being subjected to quid pro quo harassment in the workplace can leave you feeling trapped and without options. Fortunately, that's not the case. You don't have to put up with poor treatment, give in to your boss's demands, or quit your job. At Bailess Law Firm, our caring and capable employment lawyers can help you file a claim to hold your employer accountable for their unlawful behavior. We'll work diligently to gather evidence to build a case that proves:

    • You were applying for a position or were employed at the company in question
    • You experienced unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors
    • The person who harassed you was in a position of authority over you
    • Conditional job opportunities were based on your response to your harasser's sexual demands
    • You suffered harm as a result of the harassment you experienced

    If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover damages for lost wages, lost benefits, lost employment opportunities, and emotional distress—and even get your job back if you were fired.

    Talk to Us About Your Case

    Facing sexual harassment is challenging—and there's far too much at stake to go it alone. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial consultation to discuss your experiences and how our team can assist you.

  • Sexual harassment can leave targets feeling embarrassed, isolated, and powerless. When this type of harassment happens in the workplace, potentially threatening employment or income, affected workers can be even more unsure what they should do, or if they should do anything at all. Sound familiar?

    If you're being sexually harassed on the job or subjected to a hostile work environment, you don't have to stay quiet and tolerate it. While the harasser may try to make you feel alone, or convince you that what you experienced wasn't a big deal, that you can't do anything about it, or that you won't be believed even if you do report their behavior, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Sexual harassment is common, damaging, and—most importantly—illegal. Facing sexual harassment or a hostile work environment? Our exceptional team of employment attorneys can help you hold the responsible party accountable. Here's what you should know.

    Providing Support For West Virginia Employment Sexual Harassment Survivors

    At Bailess Law Firm, our caring and conscientious employment lawyers help workplace sexual harassment survivors protect their rights and recover damages for losses related to these experiences. Every single person in our office is committed to providing a safe space for survivors to tell their stories, and receive the high-quality legal services and support needed to hold their employer accountable.

    We know you've been through a lot—and we're here to make the fight for justice as easy for you as possible. You can always count on us to believe you, listen without judgment, and serve as your fierce legal advocate throughout the litigation process. We're also sensitive to any concerns you may have about working with a male attorney, which is why we also have female attorneys and paralegals on staff to assist you.

    Recognizing Employment Sexual Harassment

    Workers who've faced harassment often worry that they won't be believed, especially if what they experienced doesn't necessarily match society's idea of sexual harassment. Usually, this is quid pro quo harassment in which a boss offers to promote—or threatens to fire—an employee depending on their willingness to submit to sexual contact.

    However, this isn't the only type of sexual harassment that can occur in an employment setting. Employment sexual harassment claims involving hostile work environments are even more common. These claims are based on a pattern of persistent and unwanted physical conduct and suggestive verbal actions that affects a worker's performance and result in an intimidating or offensive workplace. Examples include crude jokes, sexual innuendos, lewd remarks, and circulation of suggestive material.

    Is an employer or coworker's inappropriate conduct making your workplace uncomfortable, offensive, or unsafe? We may be able to help.

    Building a Strong Case For Damages

    Not being believed is a common fear among workers who've faced on-the-job sexual harassment. While people may have been less receptive to claims of sexual harassment in years past, the tide appears to be turning in favor of believing and supporting survivors.

    Regardless, at Bailess Law Firm, we'll do what we've always done—which is work to build a strong case for damages for each of our clients. We'll investigate the harassment, gather essential evidence, talk to people who witnessed the inappropriate conduct or experienced something similar, interview experts, and more to support your claim and maximize its value.

    What to Do If You're Facing Sexual Harassment at Work

    Report the harassment to a supervisor, your employer, an owner, or the company HR department as soon as possible. If you're being harassed by a supervisor, employee, or owner, consult a knowledgeable and experienced employment attorney for advice.

    Talk to Us About Your Sexual Harassment Claim

    Find out how Bailess Law Firm can help you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for an initial review of your employment sexual harassment or hostile work environment case.

  • Facing a barrage of unwanted sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and sexually suggestive jokes, comments, and innuendos can be harmful and degrading no matter where it happens. Unfortunately, sexual harassment that occurs at work is particularly insidious because it relies on an imbalanced power dynamic and the fear that you could lose your job or income to make you feel trapped and hopeless.

    Here's what your harasser doesn't want you to know: You don't have to put up with sexual harassment in the workplace. A skilled employment attorney can help you take action to hold your employer accountable.

    At Bailess Law Firm, we know how difficult it can be to come forward with such personal experiences. Our compassionate and understanding employment lawyers are here to make the process as easy as possible. Here's how we can assist you.

    Help You Understand Your Legal Rights and Options

    Harassers work hard to make you feel like you don't have any power. However, both state and federal laws protect workers from being sexually harassed on the job. You have the right to work in an environment that's safe and free from unlawful harassment or discrimination. If you were targeted for sexual harassment at work or were subjected to a hostile work environment, we can help you understand your legal rights and options for seeking damages.

    Gather Important Evidence

    Gathering evidence to support your claim is essential but, for some sexual harassment survivors, doing so can be difficult, time consuming, or even traumatic. We are here to help. In addition to gathering evidence like texts or emails, we can also get statements from others who witnessed or were affected by the harassment, and interview experts to assess the scope of the damages you suffered.

    Level the Playing Field

    A workplace sexual harassment claim can pit you against an employer's high-powered corporate legal team. Having an experienced employment attorney to represent you throughout litigation levels the playing field, and sends the message that you're serious about your case and receiving fair damages for it.

    Prove Your Claim and Help You Recover Damages

    Recovering damages for employment sexual harassment requires proving that the conduct in question was unlawful. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may be considered harassment when:

    • Submission is explicitly or implicitly made a condition of your employment
    • Submission or rejection is used as the basis for employment decisions
    • Conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work performance, or creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment

    While what you recover is highly dependent on the facts and evidence in your case, potential damages include lost wages and benefits, related medical costs, and emotional distress damages.

    Believe, Support, and Encourage You Throughout the Legal Process

    When you're taking legal action to hold an employer accountable for sexual harassment, you need employment attorneys who can serve dual roles as fierce legal advocates, and kind and conscientious counselors. Bailess Law Firm does exactly that. We're here to provide a safe space for you to share your experiences and get the legal services—as well as the protection, guidance, encouragement, validation, and support—you need. However, while you see our softer side, we're known for diligently fighting for our clients at the negotiations table and in the courtroom. We are here for you when you need us, every single step of the way.

    Talk to Us About Your Case

    Contact Bailess Law Firm today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary review of your West Virginia workplace sexual harassment case. We'll work to determine if your case and our firm are a good fit, but don't worry about the fee. If we accept your case, you pay nothing, ever. That's our guarantee.

  • If sexual harassment at work has turned your shifts into waking nightmares and HR took no steps to resolve the issue (or you were too afraid to report it), it's likely time to hire an employment attorney to help you fight back against this insidious, illegal, and all-too-common form of discrimination. Unfortunately, no matter how bad the harassment's gotten or how hostile the working environment has become, you may be reluctant to contact an attorney. This could be for any number of reasons but, in our experience, it's often due to concerns about the high cost of legal counsel. Don't let this misconception deter you from seeking the damages—and the justice—you deserve. Here's what you need to know.

    Let Us Help You Level the Playing Field

    Employers who are engaging in, or turning a blind eye to, workplace sexual harassment work hard to make you think that they have the power—and the financial resources—and you don't. Hiring an attorney to represent you not only levels the legal playing field between you and your employer, it can actually maximize the value of your case. Best of all, it costs you absolutely nothing.

    At Bailess Law Firm, our caring and capable team of West Virginia employment attorneys help clients navigate the complex litigation process. We know you've been through a lot, which can make it difficult to know who to trust. We're mindful of these concerns, which is why values like integrity, honesty, transparency, and discretion are key pillars of our practice. At every point, we want you to feel confident in our counsel.

    On-the-Job Sexual Harassment Comes in Many Forms

    Survivors often doubt and minimize their experiences with workplace sexual harassment. Clients sometimes come to us concerned that they're "making something out of nothing." Rest assured, in our many years of practice, that's rarely, if ever, been the case. Far more often, these survivors have fallen for the misconception that if their employer didn't offer them something in exchange for sex, or threaten to fire them if they didn't comply with sexual demands, they didn't experience "true" sexual harassment. Let's lay this myth to rest once and for all. Not all harassment is "quid pro quo" harassment. In fact, hostile work environment harassment, which involves a barrage of unwanted sexual jokes, comments, and other actions that make the workplace offensive or intimidating, is much more common.

    The "Cost" of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

    Don't take for granted the effects that being targeted for continual sexual harassment can have on you as a survivor. From interfering with your job performance to inflicting lasting emotional distress, on-the-job sexual harassment inflicts real harm. We can help you hold your employer accountable.

    We Assume the Expense and Risk of Litigation, So You Pay Nothing—Ever

    If we accept your workplace sexual harassment case, we front all costs of litigation and assume the associated risk. You pay nothing out of pocket. Ever. No matter what. 

    Who Pays Our Fee If We Win Your Case: Understanding Fee-Shifter Agreements

    You might find yourself worrying that nothing comes for free—especially legal representation—and that someone will inevitably have to pay us for our legal services at some point. That's true, but you never have to pay anything out of pocket.  We do not get paid unless you recover damages from your case.

    Talk to Us About Your Workplace Sexual Harassment Case

    Contact Bailess Law Firm to schedule an appointment for a free initial case review. We'll help you understand your legal rights and options, and determine whether your case and our firm are a good match. Don't wait—contact us today.

  • Sexual harassment is widespread in workplaces throughout the United States. While sexual harassment exists in all industries, it is most prevalent in the restaurant industry. 71% of women who worked in a restaurant have been sexually harassed on at least one occasion. Moreover, 98% of all women in the survey reported at least one incident of retaliation following their report of sexual harassment, according to a report published by One Fair Wage in March 2021.

    If you are facing sexual harassment, you are not alone. Here are seven key points you should know:

    #1 – You Have a Right to a Workplace Free of Sexual Harassment.

    Sexual harassment is never something that is “part of the job.” It is illegal under West Virginia and federal law to sexually harass employees in the workplace. The West Virginia Human Rights Act (“WVHRA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect you from unwanted sexual harassment in the workplace. To fall under these Acts, your employer must have a certain number of employees. The WVHRA requires twelve or more employees in West Virginia for twenty or more calendar weeks in the year the sexual harassment occurred, while Title VII requires 15 or more employees. In the event your employer does not reach these thresholds for employees, the substantial public policy of West Virginia may provide you protection.

    #2 – Types of Sexual Harassment.

    There are two types of sexual harassment:

    1. Quid pro quo 
    2. Sexual harassment hostile work environment

    Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase that means “this for that.” This type of sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor or employee conditions an employee’s hiring, pay, benefits, or continued employment on the employee’s consent to participate in sexual acts. A classic example of quid pro quo sexual harassment is when a supervisor promises a promotion or favorable job conditions in exchange for sex. On the other hand, sexual harassment hostile work environment occurs in various forms such as unwanted sexual advances, touching, inappropriate jokes, intimidation, retaliation, or an employer failing to take prompt action after a report of sexual harassment.

    #3 – Sexual Harassment Is More Than Inappropriate Touching.

    Inappropriate touching is a common form of sexual harassment. The West Virginia Code of State Rules broadly defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature intended to interfere with an individual’s work performance or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. As you can see, sexual harassment encompasses so much more than just touching. Sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate jokes, sending offensive text messages, displaying pornography, violating personal space, “testing the waters” for sex, or asking about your private sex life. Sexual harassment can also exist when you are subjected to an intimidating work environment because you are female. 

    #4 – The Harassment Does Not Have to Be Directed at You.

    A sexually hostile work environment is not confined to the target of sexual harassment. Indirectly witnessing sexual harassment or experiencing a workplace culture that tolerates sexual harassment can be just as devastating as directly experiencing the harassment. This is commonly referred to as “ambient” sexual harassment or “secondhand smoke.” The WVHRA and Title VII provide protection for indirect sexual harassment.

    #5 – Psychological Effects of Sexual Harassment.

    The emotional and psychological effects of sexual harassment can have lasting consequences. Survivors of sexual harassment can experience nightmares, anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem, withdrawal, horror, fear, helplessness, and avoidance. Many survivors of sexual harassment develop post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM-V] associates PTSD with experiencing a traumatic event like sexual harassment. There are damages available under the WVHRA and Title VII for emotional distress related to sexual harassment. At Bailess Law Firm, we believe the psychological and emotional effects of sexual harassment may be the greatest damages our clients experience.

    #6 – Report Sexual Harassment Immediately. 

    Reporting sexual harassment triggers the employer’s duty to act. If a co-worker or customer is sexually harassing you, you should immediately report the harassment to a supervisor or human resources. On the other hand, if your supervisor or an owner is the source of the harassment, you can report the sexual harassment to another supervisor, owner, or human resources. Alternatively, some companies have a hotline you can call to report the harassment. When a supervisor engages in sexual harassment, his or her conduct can automatically make the employer liable. Under the WVHRA, an employer is responsible for the acts of its supervisors performed in the scope of their employment. Supervisors can also be found liable under the WVHRA for failing to take prompt and corrective action against co-workers who knowingly engage in sexual harassment.

    #7 – Damages Available for Sexual Harassment

    Employers who violate sexual harassment laws may be on the hook for your lost wages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages pursuant to the WVHRA. Keep in mind, punitive damages are designed to punish and deter your employer from engaging in future acts of sexual harassment. Additionally, your employer may also have to pay for the time and costs your attorney incurs in the case.

    Our team at Bailess Law Firm has proudly represented many survivors of sexual harassment. We recognize firsthand the courage it takes to come forward about sexual harassment. Our team is committed to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. We will listen to you without judgment in a pressure-free environment. Whether you would like more information, want to take action against your employer, or just want to talk, please contact us for a free consultation at 304-841-0037 or complete our contact form and download our book It's Not Your Fault: How to Fight Back Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace for more information.

Our Results

  • $1.5 Million Recovered over $1.5 million in a workplace sexual harassment case.
  • $5 Million Recovered over $5 million for thousands of West Virginia workers.
  • $1 Million Relentless Sexual Harassment by a Supervisor
  • WV Coal Company Held Accountable For Wrongful Termination Workplace Retaliation

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