Lawsuit filed against Shipley Do-Nuts owner over harassment accusations

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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Three former Shipley Do-Nuts employees have filed a civil lawsuit against the donut company and its owner Lawrence Shipley.

Esmeralda Sanchez, Martha Garcia and Elizabeth Peralta filed a lawsuit in Harris County District Court. The women, who are all Hispanic, said Lawrence Shipley created a hostile work environment for years.

The lawsuit stated that Shipley would touch them unwelcomely, exhibited inappropriate physical behavior and would make sexual comments toward them.

They were all terminated on Dec., 16, 2016.

In the court document, Sanchez claimed Shipley would hug her tightly across the front of her body and would stare at her breasts and crotch area. Garcia and Peralta shared similar stories.

Sanchez also claimed that when she complained to Shipley about a male warehouse supervisor staring at her breasts and making sexual comments toward her, Shipley blamed her for how she dressed.

The former employee also alleges Shipley regularly made comments about her race and would mock her accent.

Sanchez also said Shipley used a derogatory term to describe Mexicans. Garcia said Shipley would also make inappropriate comments to her about Mexicans.

The women are seeking damages for pay, emotional pain and suffering, attorneys fees and more.

Shipley Do-Nuts released the following statement Tuesday:

"The erroneous claims by these former employees named in this lawsuit are unfounded. This is nothing more than a retaliation lawsuit against Shipley Do-Nuts and Lawrence Shipley, III for their termination in December of 2016, and is linked with ongoing litigation in which Shipley Do-Nut Flour and Supply, Co. was defrauded out of over one million dollars.The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated these claims and decided to close its investigation without further action.  Our legal team is challenging these allegations and we look forward to all of these claims being resolved by the Court in our favor, as we have already won a $22,000 judgment against them."