A Berks County woman says after she reported that her employer's son sexually assaulted
her in a shed behind the fast food restaurant where she worked, she was removed from her position while no disciplinary action was taken against her attacker, according to a federal suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Rachel Delp, of Sinking Spring, Pa., eventually reported the assault to the South Heidelberg Township Police Department, ultimately resulting in the arrest and conviction of Dinesh Babu Mannepuli. She now seeks compensatory and punitive damages on five counts, including civil rights violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress, against Mannepuli and the managing company of the restaurant, Sinking Spring Fast Foods, LLC.
According to the complaint, Delp worked for the Arby's Restaurant in Sinking Springs as a cashier beginning in June 2012, working her way into the management training program. At the same time, she was also a cashier at the Beer Mart located in the same shopping center and also owned by Sinking Spring Fast Foods.
During that time, she was subjected to sexual advances and inappropriate touching from her supervisor, Mannepuli, who is also the son of the owner of Sinking Spring Fast Foods, Dr. Giri Mannepuli, the suit claims.
When Delp reported assaults to the owners, they asked her to not bring the police into the matter and that they would investigate the incident themselves, the suit claims. Following the meeting, Delp was removed from her position at Arby's and scheduled to work only at the Beer Mart, while no investigation or disciplinary actions were made against Mannepuli.
The complaint says that the owners' response to her report implied that subjecting herself to Mannepuli's unwanted sexual advances was a condition of her employment, constituting sexual discrimination against Delp. In November 2012, Delp resigned her employment with Sinking Spring Fast Foods and reported the assault to police.
Mannepuli was tried and convicted in September 2013 of indecent assault and harassment in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas and sentenced to between three and 23 months of prison and three years of probation, but the sentence has been deferred pending the completion of the appeals.
The plaintiff is represented by Michael Dautrich in Reading.
The case ID is 5:14-cv-05685-JLS.