Toast sued over alleged sexual harassment

Jim Tatum/Journal Scene

Two former employees of Toast’s Summerville location have sued the restaurant, alleging they were forced out of their jobs for complaining that a cook sexually harassed one of them.

According to the pair of lawsuits filed by attorney Joshua Howle in federal court, plaintiff Lori Kramitz was hired in April 2014 as a manager; plaintiff Heather Nygard joined the restaurant the next month as a server. On Sept. 3, 2014, Nygard claims, a cook told her “how good (her) butt looked” and commented on the size of her breasts. The following day, the same cook allegedly grabbed Nygard’s rear end while she was sorting silverware.

The lawsuit claims Nygard reported the incident to Kramitz, who within days was fired for in turn alerting her supervisor to the cook’s behavior. Nygard was demoted to hostess, and by the end of November, “forced to resign due to the continued harassment, retaliation and reduction in pay.”

Toast provided a statement from its attorney saying the company “does not tolerate or condone harassment or retaliation for reporting conduct.”

“The lawsuits were filed by two former employees who were friends,” Molly Hughes Cherry, attorney at Nexsen Pruet, LLC, writes. “The company denies what it understands the allegations of harassment or retaliation to be and intends to defend itself vigorously.”

Howle did not return a call seeking comment.