BEAUFORT, S.C. (CN) - To keep her job a restaurant manager had to have sex with her boss, who kept a "witch file" on her and fired her when she complained, the woman claims in court.
Michelle Daugherty sued John Menzer and his companies Live Oak Restaurant Concepts and Kickin' Chicken International, in the Beaufort County Court of Common Pleas. She claims that Menzer also asked to have sex with her daughters, which she refused.
Based in Charleston, the Kickin' Chicken operates six restaurants in South Carolina and one in North Carolina.
Menzer hired her in September 2011 as a co-manager at his Bluffton, S.C. restaurant, after she completed a management training program at his companies' headquarters, Daugherty says in the complaint.
Daugherty, 48, says she was the only female manager at the restaurant. She claims Menzer did not like women and began harassing her almost immediately, though she excelled at her job.
"When Michelle was hired, Menzer told her that he did not want to hire a female manager because men are better than women," the complaint states.
"Shortly after hiring Michelle, Menzer began to make sexually inappropriate comments and propositions directed toward her and her daughters. Menzer told Michelle that he wanted to have sex with her and her daughters.
"Throughout her employment with defendants, Michelle was subjected to a work atmosphere that was sexually charged, hostile and discriminatory."
Daugherty claims Menzer gave male employees preferential treatment, told her to hire only female bartenders and only male cooks, and asked her to lie to qualified candidates who did not meet his sex criteria, despite her objections.
"During Michelle's employment at this restaurant, Menzer made sexually inappropriate comments about underage female customers," the complaint states.
"Michelle told Menzer that his repeated sexual advances and comments were unwelcome, inappropriate, and offensive. She asked him to stop making these advances and comments.
"Menzer stated that he could look at whoever he wanted to, and say whatever he wanted to say.
"During her employment at this restaurant, Menzer would make abusive and insulting remarks toward Michelle, calling her stupid and pathetic.
"Sometime in November 2011, Menzer, in front of other employees, told Michelle she must perform oral sex on him if she wanted a complimentary work shirt.
"On a regular, daily basis Michelle was yelled at and profanity was used when telling her to shut her mouth.
"Defendant Menzer repeatedly called Michelle a witch and referred to her as such.
"It was well known among staff that Menzer kept a 'witch file' on Michelle and used this term when referring to her."
Daugherty says she gave in to Menzer's sexual advances and had sex with him twice to keep her job. She claims that Menzer fired her in November 2011, after she complained of sexual harassment and discrimination.
When Daugherty returned the keys the next day, Menzer cursed at her and threatened to have her arrested, she says in the complaint.
Daugherty seeks compensatory and punitive damages for sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Patrick Carr with Berry & Carr of Hilton Head Island.
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