By CHRIS DICKERSON
CHARLESTON – Two former female employees have sued a recently opened Putnam County location of a national hamburger chain for sexual harassment.
Macey Lewis and Brittany Mercer-Gregory filed their complaints June 10 against Five Guys, general manager Curtis Runyon and manager Andre Devon “Dre” Fleming.
Both women claim they were subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other forms of sexual abuse creating a hostile work environment at the Teays Valley location.
Both women say the conduct was so bad that they had to quit their jobs.
In her complaint, 18-year-old Lewis says Fleming made comments to her such as “bend over and I’ll make you forget about your boyfriend” and “I want to wrap you up and put my legs around you while naked.” He also called Lewis, who was a student at Hurricane High School at the time of her employment, a “sexy bitch.”
Fleming also allegedly told Lewis he had a crush on her and “I want to watch you,” telling her he wanted to “get her high and go star gazing with her and have sex.” He also told her “not to tell him she was in high school because it turns him off.” He also said, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be thinking the things I want to do right now.”
Mercer-Gregory, 29, claims Fleming had a pattern of making inappropriate sexual advances and comments to female employees. He allegedly called her “Big booty Brit” and grabbed her. He also allowed coworker Aaron Kitchen to grab her and sexually harass her.
Both women say Fleming was not seriously reprimanded for “outrageous and illegal conduct.” The lawsuits also say Runyon didn’t take action against the manager and that Five Guys didn’t take meaningful action to stop the harassment.
Lewis’ complaint also claims Fleming stalked her. She worked at the restaurant for about two months, according to her complaint. Mercer-Gregory worked there less than a month, her complaint states.
Both women also claim Five Guys has an arbitration agreement that is invalid.
Both Lewis and Mercer-Gregory are seeking compensatory damages of back pay, front pay and lost benefits as well as damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, aggravation, inconvenience and damage to reputation. They also seek punitive damages, attorneys fees and other relief.
They are represented by Charleston attorney John Einreinhofer and Hurricane attorney Gregory M. Courtright.
The Teays Valley location of Five Guys was involved in a lawsuit before it opened this spring. A plumbing subcontractor sued the contractor, the restaurant franchisee and the building owner after another plumber was hired.
Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 15-C-1164 (Lewis) and 15-C-1165 (Mercer-Gregory)