Woman sues restaurant for harassment, assault

By Carol Ostrow | Mar 23, 2015

A Grayson County restaurant worker brought a lawsuit against her former employer for several alleged violations of employment practices.

Sterling Paige Dewvall filed on March 6 against Palio’s Five Star Inc., doing business as Palio’s Pizza Cafe of Prosper in U.S. District Court's Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas, claiming unlawful employment practices.

Dewvall worked at the defendant’s restaurant starting in April 2014. According to the suit, her manager, Ulises Rayas Chavez, sexually harassed her for several months, with both verbal and physical infringements including suggestive comments and unwelcome touching, despite the plaintiff’s requests to cease.

The plaintiff spoke to restaurant owner Sheila Hardin on Aug. 25, 2014, who stated that she would talk to Chavez. Incidents continued until Sept. 14, when Chavez reportedly struck her face with a closed fist, according to court documents. Dewvall filed a police report with the Sherman Police Department and contacted the owner again for resolution.

Hardin conducted a meeting with Chavez and Dewvall on Sept. 15, allegedly shifting the blame onto the plaintiff, according to the filing. Dewvall resigned a week later, citing a hostile working environment, and filed a motion with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late October 2014.

Citing sexual discrimination, assault and battery, failure to supervise employees and gross negligence, Dewvall seeks: compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages for pain and suffering; medical expenses; damages; future and back pay; fees; expenses; and costs. She is represented by Ronald Huff and Thomas Redwine of Redwine and Mabary in Sherman.

U.S. District Court's Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas, case no. 4:15-cv-00156.

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