Lawsuit Alleges Restaurant Owner Strip-Searched Black Employees for Missing Money

Four black former employees of a north Georgia restaurant say they were unfairly strip searched by white managers and that three of them were fired after they complained.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit on their behalf, seeking back wages plus interest.

The federal agency's complaint says managers searched the four employees after $100 disappeared from a white employee's cash register at the Krystal restaurant in Winder in June 2005.

Herbert Hunter, Daphne Hill and Shannon Jackson say they were fired after they complained that only black employees were strip searched. Quinthony Brown did not return to work after he was searched.

"We don't want any other employee subjected to this kind of treatment," Vincent Hill, the EEOC attorney handling the case, told the Athens Banner-Herald.

The employees complained to the EEOC two months after the alleged incident, and the agency has been working to negotiate a settlement with New Capital Dimensions, the Milledgeville-based company that formerly owned the Winder franchise of the Krystal chain that operates across the South.

Richard and Betty Bertoli of Milledgeville are listed as the corporation's registered agents with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office. A woman who answered the telephone Saturday at Richard Bertoli's home in Milledgeville said "I don't know anything about that," and then hung up the telephone.