Former waitress files lawsuit against D’Argent Companies

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 7:31 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - A former employee of the Huddle House restaurant in Alexandria has filed a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment against an executive with D’Argent Companies, which owns the restaurant.

Samantha Williams, a former waitress for the restaurant, filed a lawsuit back on Jan. 6 against D’Argent Franchising, LLC, D’Argent Construction, LLC, D’Argent Companies, LLC, Justin Giallonardo, and their insurance companies.

Williams worked at the restaurant from April of 2019 to August of 2020 when she resigned.

In the lawsuit, Williams claims that Giallonardo engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment which includes making requests for dates, inappropriate nicknames, text messages, sexual advances and threats to keep the communications secret.

The lawsuit states that Giallonardo repeatedly invited Williams to his home. In one instance, Giallonardo allegedly tricked Williams into coming to his house for a barbeque for prospective managers, only for Williams to show up and find that no one else was invited. And Giallonardo attempted to engage in sexual interaction with Williams but she declined.

After the “fake barbeque” incident, Williams claims that Giallonardo confided in her supervisor at the restaurant. Williams claims that Giallonardo told her supervisor:

“If I can’t [explicit] that girl, I’m going to fire her.”

That statement was relayed to Williams which lead to her resigning to avoid termination being on her employment record.

William Most, the attorney for Williams, gave a statement to News Channel 5 saying:

“In my entire career as a lawyer, I have never seen a company treat its female employees as vilely and disgustingly as D’Argent has. We are confident that Ms. Williams’ claims are extremely strong, as we conducted a several-months-long investigation before filing the lawsuit. Our investigation has included speaking to approximately a dozen former D’Argent employees and Giallonardo family members. Every single person we spoke to corroborated D’Argent’s misconduct. We have collected evidence including documents, audiotapes and sworn statements that show D’Argent’s misconduct. Ms. Williams has claims against D’Argent for sexual harassment, infliction of emotional distress, and document destruction and witness intimidation. D’Argent’s behavior is illegal and immoral. It must stop now.”

William Most, attorney for Williams

The lawsuit states that after Giallonardo found out that Williams had quit before he could fire her, he wrote up a new separation notice and backdated it to a few days before she quit to make it appear that she had been fired.

In the lawsuit, it also says that nearly a dozen former employees of D’Argent Companies and other witnesses claim that Giallonardo repeatedly hired young women and then sexually harassed them until they complained or rejected his sexual advancements or were fired or the harassment eventually leading to the female employees quitting.

The lawsuit also describes five former female employees who were subject to harassment by D’Argent’s managers.

The causes of action listed in the lawsuit against Giallonardo are intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional spoliation and witness intimidation.

We reached out to the defendant, Justin Giallonardo, and a statement from him reads:

“The allegations are baseless and false. The main witnesses in the suit are the plaintiff’s live-in boyfriend and a convicted felon, both of whom are under active investigation for suspicion of theft from D’Argent Franchising, LLC. We will not be bullied by radical, out-of-town funded trial lawyers who sue people for a living and expect an easy payday settlement. We did nothing wrong, and we look forward to having our day in court.”

Justin Giallonardo

News Channel 5 will continue to follow this case and provide updates as things develop.

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