CHAGRIN FALLS — David Walker and Angela Huang, co-owners of Winds of Change and Gypsy Sole, have been named in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. Three former employees who are residents of Bentleyville, Hudson and Mentor, filed the complaint in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Aug. 19.
The plaintiffs said in the suit that Mr. Walker made unwanted sexual comments and advances, in addition to coercing them to drink while underage, according to the complaint. The suit states that Ms. Huang knew of the harassment but took no effective action to stop it.
“We stand by what’s in the complaint and we expect that we’re going to prove it’s all true,” said attorney Matthew Besser, who represents the plaintiffs. “If people have information, we ask that they come forward and say what they know.”
Mr. Besser said that he “would not be surprised” if others come forward with similar complaints. There are five claims for relief, according to the lawsuit, including sexual harassment, retaliation, aiding and abetting discrimination, assault and battery and negligent training and supervision.
The complaint states that the women are asking for damages in excess of $25,000 for back pay and front pay; compensation for their injuries, damage and loss; punitive damages; equitable relief; attorney fees and litigation costs; pre- and post-judgment interest; and other relief as the court deems appropriate.
As of Friday, the defendants had not yet chosen legal representation, according to the court docket. Mr. Walker did not return a call from the Times. The case has been assigned to Judge William T. McGinty.
The complaint states that the human resources manager knew of prior allegations, but each time another employee complained about Mr. Walker’s comments and actions, the manager said there had been no previous complaints. After several employees complained about Mr. Walker, the employees’ hours were changed or they were given new and difficult tasks, according to the lawsuit.
Winds of Change is located on West Orange Street and Gypsy Sole is on North Main Street in downtown Chagrin Falls. There is another location for Winds of Change in Hudson. Many of the employees at these stores are women in their teens and early 20s, the complaint states.
The case is pending in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.