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Agreement reached in lawsuit alleging sexual harassment of Sugar Shack employee

Agreement reached in lawsuit alleging sexual harassment of Sugar Shack employee

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A former Sugar Shack employee is seeking $550,000 in damages.

An agreement has been reached in a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint filed against the Sugar Shack company’s CEO, Sugar Shack Donuts LLC and SSD Staffing LLC, which handles the company payroll.

A stipulation filed this week on behalf of the plaintiff, Virginia Williams, and the defendants, states that “they have resolved this matter and move the Court to dismiss this matter with prejudice, each party to bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees.”

Lawyers for Williams and the defendants, including Ian Kelley, the CEO and a founder of the Chesterfield County-based company, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. Online court records indicate that U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne has not yet acted on the request.

A trial had been set for July in the suit filed last September by Williams, who alleged that Kelly promoted Williams, then an 18-year-old part-time employee, to the position of store manager and used that promotion as leverage to start a sexual relationship with her.

The 10-page complaint claimed Williams was fired after she filed a complaint about the relationship, which she claims also included an apartment secretly paid for by the company.

In an email to the Richmond Times-Dispatch last year, Kelley responded to the complaint writing, “We are working with our attorneys to respond to these baseless claims.”

The suit said that Williams, of Richmond, began working part-time for Sugar Shack in 2016 when she was 17 years old, then switched to full-time work there after graduating high school the next year. At various times she worked in the Midlothian, Hanover, Charlottesville, and Parham Road locations and in mobile operations. All of those stores are now closed except for the Midlothian location.

The suit sought $200,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged sexual harassment and retaliation allegations, plus back pay still owed to her as well as $350,000 in punitive damages for wrongful discharge.

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