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EEOC sues Krystal franchisee over strip-search allegations

WINDER Ga. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a racial discrimination lawsuit Thursday against a franchisee of a Krystal restaurant where three black former employees claim the white general manager subjected them to strip searches after the cash register of a white co-worker came up $100 short.

According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, the white employee was not searched, but the store manager ordered the two female black employees into the restroom one at a time to strip down to their underwear while a white female manager watched. The male employee was allegedly required to strip while the store manager watched. The $100 was not recovered.

The Winder hamburger restaurant is operated by franchisee New Capital Dimensions, Inc., of Milledgeville, Ga. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Betty Bertoli, chief financial office, denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

The suit claims the searched employees were later fired, as well as another black employee who complained about the searches.

The EEOC filed the suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement, according to its attorneys.  The federal agency seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the harmed employees, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.

New Capital Dimensions is a privately held corporation in the north Georgia area that owns six Krystal restaurants. Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Krystal Company operates or franchises nearly 400 restaurants in 11 southern states.

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