Royal Vendors employees named in lawsuit

December 17, 1997

Royal Vendors employees named in lawsuit


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Martinsburg, W.Va., woman filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court claiming she was sexually harassed while working at Royal Vendors.

Vicki Rhodes alleges in her lawsuit that she quit on Dec. 5 because of a "constant barrage of unwelcome sexual advances, offensive sexual comments, touching and other forms of sexual harassment" by her co-workers and supervisor.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction to stop the defendants from committing future acts prohibited by the West Virginia Human Rights Act.


The lawsuit names Royal Vendors Inc. in Bardane, W.Va., former co-worker Jumras "Mooie" Boksuntiea, and former supervisor Mark High as defendants.

Bob Kutcher, director of human services at Royal Vendors, said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

High and Boksuntiea could not be reached for comment.

Rhodes started working at Royal Vendors in October after moving to the area from South Carolina, said her attorney, Harry P. Waddell.

Rhodes had separated from her husband and went to work at Royal Vendors in the stock room to support her three children, Waddell said.

"She was kind of vulnerable because she was alone, single, attractive and in need of the job," Waddell said.

The lawsuit alleges that she was "subjected to a sexually hostile and offensive work environment."

She was subjected to numerous advances and demeaning comments of a sexual nature by Boksuntiea, High and other workers, according to the lawsuit.

"On one occasion, the defendant Jumras Boksuntiea threatened to rape the plaintiff in the women's bathroom at the plant," the lawsuit alleged.

Rhodes complained to High, her immediate supervisor, and the stock room manager, Tom Hartley, about the alleged sexual harassment, but no investigation was conducted and no disciplinary action was taken, according to the suit.

The week she resigned, Boksuntiea had downloaded sexually explicit photos of women from the Internet and gave them to High, who made copies in the stockroom, according to allegations contained in the lawsuit.

High gave copies to one of Rhodes' co-workers and instructed the person to pass them on to Rhodes, the lawsuit alleged.

West Virginia's Human Rights Act allows employees the right to work in an environment free from sexual ridicule or insult, according to the lawsuit.

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