A former Wings To Go employee claims she endured months of sexual harassment from her male co-workers before she quit her job.
Mindi Johnson filed a lawsuit April 12 in Jefferson County District Court against Mildred Enterprises, doing business as Wings To Go.
Johnson claims she began working at Wings To Go on Oct. 6, 2008, and shortly thereafter became the subject of inappropriate, sexually explicit comments made by three co-employees — Mike St. Julian, Kevin Lee and Albert Francis.
“On one particular occasion Mr. St. Julian turned the lights off in the walk-in cooler while Plaintiff was in there,” the suit states. “When Plaintiff complained of this action, Mr. St. Julian suggested that he join Plaintiff in the cooler and ‘we would see what would happen.’”
One week after the alleged cooler incident, St. Julian commented on Johnson’s attire, saying that only he could see what happened underneath Johnson’s pants, according to the complaint. He also told Johnson that if he had one chance with her, she would leave her fiance for him, the complaint says.
Johnson also claims she experienced sexual harassment when she worked with closing manager Lee, who graphically portrayed a night he spent with a woman he met at a bar.
According to the complaint, Lee proceeded to show Johnson pictures of him giving and receiving oral sex from the woman. On a separate occasion, he again displayed pictures of himself and another woman engaged in a sexual act, the suit states.
“On yet another occasion, Mr. Lee requested that Plaintiff get up on the counter top and take her clothes off,” the complaint says. “He went on further to state that if Plaintiff agreed he would pay her for it.
“On another separate occasion, Mr. Lee made a remark that he wanted Plaintiff to ‘wear bikinis to show off our goods.’ He stated that Plaintiff would get a raise if she did this; however, she refused.”
Still another employee, opening manager Francis, repeatedly exposed his genitals to Johnson and would call her Mindi Francis instead of Mindi Johnson, she claims.
“On many occasions Mr. Francis would unnecessarily graze Plaintiff’s breasts and buttocks,” the suit states. “Mr. Francis would ask Plaintiff to reach for items he could reach himself, using this as an opportunity to touch her inappropriately.”
Sick of all the harassment, Johnson gave Wings To Go manager Danny Parton a letter on March 16, 2009, complaining of her co-workers’ actions. However, instead of correcting the behavior, Parton approached Johnson about her note in front of Francis, according to the complaint.
Parton threatened Johnson that she should not make such serious allegations, and if they turned out to be untrue, she could be found guilty for perjury, the complaint says.
“No legitimate action was taken to halt the discriminatory acts and practices after Plaintiff’s complaint,” the suit states. “Rather, Plaintiff was subjected to retaliation as Plaintiff’s work hours were significantly cut. Plaintiff was therefore forced to quit and was constructively terminated on or about March 20, 2009.”
In her complaint, Johnson seeks actual, punitive and statutory damages, plus attorney’s fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.
Barrett P. Lindsay of Lindsay Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing her.
The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.
Jefferson County District Court case number: A186-511.