Former Double T diner waitress claims sexual harassment

January 28, 2010|by Nick Madigan | Baltimore Sun reporter

A former waitress at a Double T Diner in Anne Arundel County filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Thursday in federal court against the restaurant chain and the son of one of its owners, alleging she was subjected to sexual advances, gropings and graphic profanity.

The suit by the 27-year-old woman is the latest in a decade-long string of legal actions -- including two suits by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- against the Double T chain by former waitresses who claimed they were sexually harassed by managers and other employees. Most of those suits were settled out of court, in one case for $200,000.

In her suit, the woman names Spyros Korologos, 26, a manager at the diner where she worked for five months in 2007, on Mountain Road in Pasadena. It's one of several restaurants owned by the Korologos family.

The woman, who was engaged to be married at the time, says she was "publicly subjected to intimidation, ridicule and insult on the basis of her sex," "unwanted sexual advances," and "profane, sexually graphic and vulgar language." Korologos did not return a call Thursday seeking comment, and two lawyers who represented him in previous cases said they no longer do.

On Sept. 7, 2007, the woman says in her suit, Korologos "violently grabbed" her crotch, causing her "physical injury and emotional distress."

She quit her job six days later and pressed criminal charges. According to the complaint filed in Anne Arundel County District Court, Korologos not only fondled her but made a habit of inquiring how many sexual partners she'd had and was "always foul with the way he talked."

On April 17, 2008, he was given probation before judgment on a fourth-degree sex offense, meaning that he could avoid conviction if he adhered to the terms of probation. He did not, according to a report from the state Division of Parole and Probation, which said he failed to show up for court-ordered psychological therapy or to return calls from the therapist. He also stopped attending the required weekly meetings with his probation agent, the report says.

As a result, Korologos, who was living with his parents in Ellicott City, was found to have violated his probation and was convicted last May of the sex offense against the woman, who now lives in Florida and is not being named because of Sun policy.

The woman is seeking $6 million in damages. In her suit, she says Korologos has "a long history of similar illegal conduct in the workplace," but that he has not been "discharged or disciplined."

In other lawsuits, women who had worked at Double T diners said managers and other employees had locked them in freezers, poured hot sauce on their arms and, to amuse themselves, carved vegetables into anatomically suggestive shapes.

A civil suit filed in 2001 against the chain and its White Marsh outpost on behalf of seven former waitresses said that when they complained about the abuse, they were subjected to "ridicule and discrimination" and "less favorable work assignments."

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