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Posted On: March 7, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Restaurant Depot

Stephanie Chiafos, a former employee of St. Paul restaurant supplier Restaurant Depot has accused two of her former supervisors of sexual harassment in an eleven page lawsuit filed in federal court. The lawsuit alleges that when one supervisor, John Ruhulessin was fired after having a number of complaints made against him by female employees, the man who temporarily replaced him , Tommie Brown continued the sexual harassment. Chiafos alleges the replacement supervisor even sexually assaulted her while on the job.

According to the lawsuit, the company did not take the accusations being made against the first supervisor serious until Chiafos hired an attorney. The lawsuit was filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Minnesota Human Rights Act and based on negligent supervision and retention. The Minnesota Human Rights Act is analogous to the Illinois Human Rights Act.

The lawsuit alleges that Brown put his hand down the front of Chiafos's shirt, touched her breasts, and made propositions for oral sex. In fact, according to the lawsuit, on the day Brown fired Ruhulessin for his inappropriate sexual comments, Brown told Chiafos

"blow him for lunch" because he had a bad headache from having to fire Ruhulessin.

A complete copy of the lawsuit is available by clicking on 09-cv-00499

According to the lawsuit from October 2006 thru December 2006 Chiafos reported Browns conduct to her immediate supervisor Steve Dewenter on at least three occasions. In response to all of Chafos's complaints to Dewenter, her supervisor just told her to deal with it and that Brown would soon be returning to Chicago and that in regards to Brown, he was just "chicago people". The lawsuit continues with the graphic details regarding the alleged sexual assault of Chiafos. On December 5, 2006, Brown orderd Chiafos to go to the loading dock, whereby he grabbed her, forced her into the bathroom and locked the door. Brown allegedly undid his pants, and told Chiafos to get to it. When she refused he forced his penis into her mouth until he ejaculated. Chiafos immediatly reported the attack was taken to the hostipal and the police were notified.
Chiafos is seeking in excess of $50,000 plus is asking the Court to allow her to amend the lawsuit to include punitive damages.

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