HOUSTON – Things aren’t looking too sweet for Shipley Do-Nuts. The Houston-based pastry chain is at the center of a civil rights lawsuit.
Harris County court documents show at least three women, all former employees, claim sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination against the company’s co-owner, Lawrence Shipley III.
The women are accusing Shipley of inappropriately touching their rear ends while hugging them and staring at their body parts.
All this is alleged to have gone down before they were fired in December of 2016.
The suit also alleges a warehouse supervisor, Christopher Halsey, touched a female employee on her hip and lower back.
When Esmeralda Sanchez complained to Shipley, he allegedly blamed her for the way she was dressed and said her behavior encouraged him.
That supervisor is also accused of making derogatory comments about employees’ Mexican national origin and Hispanic race.
Shipley allegedly told one of the Hispanic women in the suit “she should not drive a particular make of car because it is only for white people.”
The women are seeking more than $1,000,000.
Shipley’s released a statement denying the allegations that read in part:
“The erroneous claims by these former employees named in this lawsuit are unfounded. This is nothing more than a retaliation lawsuit against Shipley Do-Nuts and Lawrence Shipley, III for their termination in December of 2016, and is linked with ongoing litigation in which Shipley Do-Nut Flour and Supply, Co. was defrauded out of over one million dollars. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated these claims and decided to close its investigation without further action. Our legal team is challenging these allegations and we look forward to all of these claims being resolved by the Court in our favor, as we have already won a $22,000 judgement against them.”