Former employee says Suzi's owner sexually harassed her

CHARLESTON -- A former employee is suing Suzi's Hamburgers after she claims the owner and manager of the restaurant sexually harassed her.

James Cowie Jr. was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Cowie Management Corporation is doing business as Suzi's.

Kelli Hagerman was employed by the defendants when Cowie made unwelcome sexual remarks, physical contact and physical advances toward her, according to a complaint filed June 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Hagerman claims Cowie created a hostile work environment for her and in January 2011, she clocked out and did not return to her employment with the defendants because she could no longer tolerate the hostile working environment created by Cowie.

Upon information and belief, Cowie has harassed other employees of the restaurant, according to the suit.

Hagerman claims the defendants' actions caused her embarrassment, emotional and mental distress and loss of personal dignity.

Suzi's Hamburgers failed to take appropriate action and stop Cowie's conduct, which forced Hagerman to leave her position, according to the suit.

Hagerman is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Paul M. Stroebel.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-1223

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