By Paul J. Richards, National Journal (Photo: Getty Images)PANERA DRIVE THROUGH, PA – MAY 09: Employees of Panera Drive Through and Panera Express Drive through the drive thru window on May 9, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)Panera Drive thru restaurant in Pittsburgh opened in 2015 and has since grown into one of the top drive thru restaurants in the U.S. It’s been one of several restaurants that have expanded to include a drive thru lane, and now its the latest to get sued by a former employee.
In a lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania’s Northern District Court, former employee Jason Waddell alleged that he and fellow drive thru driver Ryan Dennison were sexually harassed and retaliated against when they complained to the company.
Waddell, who is a co-owner of Paneras Drive thru and Panerias Express, said that in December 2017, Dennisons co-worker, Andrew Bostelow, invited him to an off-site meeting with Panera’s senior management to discuss how to handle complaints about sexual harassment and retaliation.
Dennings complaints led to Bostels departure from the company in early February 2018.WADDELL alleged that Bostell, a former senior manager at Panera, forced Dennons company to pay for his lawyers to handle his case, which he was denied because of the “confidentiality” agreement Panera had with Paneros lawyers.
Panera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Waddells lawsuit also claimed that Panera failed to adequately address his concerns and the retaliation of Waddels coworkers.
In March 2018, Panera announced it was settling its lawsuit with Waddills case, agreeing to pay Waddill $150,000.
In the lawsuit, Panerasterewers lawyers argue that Dennys claims about harassment are false and that the company acted in good faith in trying to resolve Waddies claims.
Panera denies any wrongdoing and says the lawsuit is without merit.
According to Waddils lawyers, Waddellas claims were based on a “false and defamatory statement” he made to Panera employees about his alleged harassment.
Wads attorney said that while Waddelle claims that he was verbally harassed and humiliated by Panera and Bostlows management, “he has been unable to provide evidence that he ever was subjected to that type of verbal abuse or humiliating treatment.”
Panera has not yet responded to a copy of the lawsuit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.