A lawsuit filed against Shipley Do-Nuts and its owner is now making its way through state court with claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination against three former employees.
From inside the walls of the white metal building, with the distinguished donut on the outside, comes the claims of abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment, spelled out in the lawsuit.
“They were afraid to say anything, of course. But these comments happen throughout their employment, as well as touching. It was a routine occurrence, unfortunately," said attorney Karla Epperson.
Three former employees -- three Hispanic women -- call working at Shipley Do-Nuts, "a hostile work environment." In the lawsuit, the women say they were subjected to unwelcome touching, staring and even spanking by the Shipley owner, Lawrence Shipley III, and another employee.
“They just put up with it for quite some time. And that’s typical for many in the same situation," Epperson said.
Epperson said her clients also claim they were subjected to discriminatory comments targeting their race and origin.
“Hispanic term ‘caca’ to refer to Mexican employees and some similar language," Epperson said.
But it’s not the first time the women are trying to take their former boss before a judge. A lawsuit filed last year in federal court is seeking class action status to reimburse employees for unpaid overtime wages.
“They certainly hope the behavior will stop, and they hope to send a message to other employers to not engage in this type of conduct. Not to assume you are immune to complying with the law," Epperson said.
KHOU 11 News has tried reaching out to the defendants, including the owner, both online and by phone, but have not yet heard back.
At this time, we want to clarify these are only allegations, and the defendant has at least three weeks to respond to the lawsuit.