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Brinkley v. Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

March 13, 2019




         Before the Court is Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant's motion to dismiss.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         This is a case about sexual harassment, retaliation, and sex discrimination. The harassment became so pervasive that it created a hostile work environment. According to Sharlene Brinkley, in August 2015, she began working at Logan's Roadhouse in Ridgeland as a server. Shortly after starting, a manager named Johnquay Aldridge began making sexual comments and advances towards Brinkley. Brinkley reported this to the general manager, Felix Cheatham, and Cheatham said he would take care of the matter. However, Cheatham was moved to a different location, Aldridge and Brinkley remained in Ridgeland, and the harassment continued.

         When Cheatham was moved, David Hohenadel and Jason Spires joined Aldridge as managers at Logan's. Within one week of Hohenadel starting, Brinkley alleges that he began sexually harassing her. The harassment took place almost every day. Brinkley reported Hohenadel's actions to another female manager, but the harassment continued. After Brinkley reported this harassment to the female manager, Spires also began harassing her. Brinkley alleges that when she resisted the harassment, she was left off the schedule on the busiest days at the restaurant, which caused her to not make as much money.

         On one occasion around November 2016, Spires told Brinkley that she could not leave the restaurant until she showed him her breasts; if she left without showing him, he would say that she quit her job. She complied and pulled up her shirt.

         In January 2017, Brinkley scheduled leave to take her children to the doctor. The day before her scheduled leave, Hohenadel told her she had to work the following day. Brinkley reminded him that she was scheduled to be off. Hohenadel told Brinkley to “bring her sweet ass to work anyway because [he] need[ed] something to look at.” Docket No. 8 at ¶ 27. Brinkley took the day off, as planned, but when she returned to work as scheduled, Spires fired her. Brinkley reported her termination to authorities at Logan's Roadhouse outside of the Ridgeland location. She was rehired but transferred to another location and demoted back to her original position as a server, even though when she was fired she was working in a higher position as a team leader.

         In March 2017, Brinkley filed a charge of discrimination against Logan's with the EEOC. The full text of the charge is below:

I was hired by the above employer in August 2015 as a server and progressed to team lead. In November and December 2016 I was subjected to sexual comments and advances from the store manager.[1] After I threatened to report him to corporate, the advances stopped. I was scheduled to work January 25th but off January 26 and January 27. On January 25, the store manager asked me to work on the 26th. I told him I had a prior engagement and could not work. He said I had better come in. I took off on January 26 and 27. When I reported to work on January 28, I was discharged.
The manager said I was discharged for not working January 26 and not calling off the 27th.
I believe I was subjected to sexual harassment because of my sex (female) and discharged in retaliation for rebuffing the sexual advances in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. No. one has ever been discharged for not working their off days. But for not going along with the advances would I have been discharged.
After the discharge I called corporate and was offered by job back but as a server. The position that I began in August 2015.

         Docket No. 10-1. On the charge, Brinkley marked that she had been discriminated against based on her sex and subjected to retaliation between November 1, 2016 and January 28, 2017.

         In May 2018, Brinkley filed this complaint. In July, defendant moved to dismiss the action. Brinkley then amended her complaint in due course under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) and again, defendant moved to dismiss.[2] Brinkley alleges that the restaurant is liable under Title VII for sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation.

         II. ...

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