A Philadelphia man who claims he faced retaliation and termination after he turned down alleged sexual advances by his immediate supervisor at the Philadelphia Ruby Tuesday restaurant where he worked has filed a federal lawsuit against the establishment.
In his complaint, filed May 25 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Philadelphia attorneys Sidney L. Gold and Neelima Vanguri, Amante Nuualiitia claims that he was fired in late October 2010 after three years of working as a manager of the Ruby Tuesday restaurant at 8680 Bartram Avenue in retaliation for his complaining about an incident in which his female supervisor attempted to lure him into a sexual act.
According to the complaint, Nuualiitia, 35, who began working for defendant Ruby Tuesday in September 2008, allowed his assistant general manager, Trisha Gieder, to come over to his house on April 4, 2010 after she requested to come to the plaintiff’s home to watch a movie with him.
Nuualiitia, who believed he and the woman were just friends, became worried after Gieder failed to return from the restroom at one point in the evening, the suit states, and the plaintiff eventually made his way toward his bedroom where he discovered Gieder sprawled out naked on his bed in an “extremely sexual manner.”
Nuualiitia then asked Gieder, who propositioned the plaintiff to have sexual intercourse with him, to cease any further sexual advances, the lawsuit states.
After he returned to work, Nuualiitia reported the incident to his general manager, identified in the lawsuit as Jeff Tretina, who allegedly “laughed and failed to investigate the matter any further,” the suit claims.
Shortly after the plaintiff made his complaint, Gieder began retaliating against the man for his opposing her “unlawful” sexual harassment, according to the civil action.
Gieder began making negative statements about Nuualiitia to many of the defendant’s employees, the lawsuit claims, and she often accused the plaintiff of being an “ineffective manager.”
Gieder also allegedly began purposely neglecting her job duties knowing that that action would negatively affect the plaintiff’s employment.
Gieder even went so far as to steal other employees’ tip money knowing that Nuualiitia would be held responsible for the thefts, the lawsuit alleges.
In October 2010, Nuualiitia reported the earlier sexual harassment incident and the subsequent retaliation to a Ruby Tuesday district manager, but again nothing was done about the complaint, the suit states.
Nuualiitia was fired from his job on Oct. 23, 2010 for alleged absenteeism, although the complaint claims that the day prior had been the only time Nuualiitia ever called out of work in the nearly three years he was employed by the restaurant.
“Plaintiff Nuualiitia believes and avers that the Defendant’s articulated reason for his termination was pretextual and his employment was actually terminated solely in retaliation for opposing unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace,” the lawsuit states.
The complaint contains counts of hostile work environment, sexual harassment and retaliation.
Nuualiitia seeks lost pay, compensatory and punitive damages, damages for pain and suffering and mental anguish, pre-and-post-judgment interest and attorney’s fees.
He has demanded a jury trial.
The federal case number is 2:12-cv-02923-TJS.