Chris Schulz Published

Human Rights Commission Holds Town Hall On Employment Discrimination, Harassment

An open concept office shows desks up against high windows. Diffused, white light comes into the room through the windows, which is primarily white and beige tones.
An empty office.
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A town hall-style meeting at Bluefield State University will focus on issues of workplace discrimination. 

The meeting, hosted by the West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will focus on employment discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Students, staff, and community members are invited to attend at the Herbert Gallery/Student Center Wednesday, March 22 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Human Rights Commission Investigator James Spenia said colleges and universities like Bluefield were chosen for the meetings to inform, as well as hear from, community members entering the workforce.

“With the changes in technology, including things like Zoom meetings, we’re seeing different methods for harassment,” Spenia said. “It’s important to get out and educate them and let them know that there are resources, and what they can do to help combat that.”

Two more town halls are planned for other schools around the state. A similar meeting was held at West Virginia State University in early March. 

“It’s an outreach initiative to get out in communities, specifically in Appalachia, and just try to educate the public and see what’s going on, to kind of discuss current issues in employment discrimination and see what they’re encountering in their day to day lives as well,” Spenia said.

Spenia said the Human Rights Commission addresses issues of discrimination and harassment in their day-to-day operations, and handles allegations of discrimination in the workplace, as well as in housing and public accommodations. 

“It’s always ongoing,” Spenia said.