Woman sues Aerie for embarrassing 'random layer search'

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 9, 2010

CHARLESTON -- A former employee is suing Aerie By American Eagle Outfitters, AE Outfitters Retail Co. and the store manager after she claims she was subjected to an embarrassing "random layer search" while working.

On July 21, 2009, Candace Michele Kestner was subjected to the search, which included searching her undergarments, at the front of the store, according to a complaint filed July 6 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Kestner claims she was willing to allow the search and for the defendants to search her purse, but the fact that the search was performed at the front of the store in front of patrons, other employees, passers-by and employees from other stores was "atrocious, intolerable, extreme and outrageous."

Lora Gannon, a manager at the store, informed Kestner that the search was part of the routine of being an employee at the store, according to the suit.

Kestner claims she was not being accused of stealing or trying to smuggle something out of the store at the time of the search.

The defendants intentionally and recklessly engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct and caused Kestner to suffer mental anguish, emotional distress and loss of the ability to enjoy life, according to the suit.

Kestner is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Shawn R. Romano and Kathy A. Brown.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-1212

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