Burger King worker claims she was fired after reporting harassment

Kelly Holleran May 9, 2011, 8:21am

A woman has filed suit against the fast food chain where she used to work, alleging she was fired after reporting sexual harassment to authorities.

Zsanette A. Coffee claims she worked as an assistant manager at Burger King at its 4700 N. Broad St. location in Philadelphia for eight years before she was fired in October.

Coffee’s termination came following a complaint she made to Burger King’s owner, Odyssey Foods of Pennsylvania, about sexual harassment she became subjected to after Robert Goder became store manager in August, according to the complaint filed May 3 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“After his hire, Goder very aggressively sexually harassed Plaintiff and other female employees by making many sexually inappropriate comments, statements about their bodies, comments about his sexual intentions, physical touching in an inappropriate manner, and he propositioned female employees for sex multiple times in the workplace,” the suit states.

When Coffee made her complaints to management, it told her, “Goder is running the location, just leave if you want, leave if you don’t like the store,” the complaint says.

After her complaints of sexual harassment, Coffee learned that Goder knew of her complaints. In turn, he began treating her with tremendous animosity, adjusting her work days and hours, criticizing her and eventually terminated her for pretextual reasons, she claims.

In her complaint, Coffee alleges that Odyssey Foods of Pennsylvania violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

She is seeking a court order prohibiting Odyssey Foods of Pennsylvania from maintaining its illegal practices. Coffee is also seeking lost earnings, salary, pay increases, bonuses and benefits she would have received had she not been terminated. She is asking for punitive damages, costs and a verdict to maximize the financial recovery available to her.

She will be represented by Ari R. Karpf of Karpf and Karpf in Bensalem.

U.S.  District Court case number: 2:11-cv-2942.

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