Woman says she was fired after complaining of nude photo

Woman says she was fired after complaining of nude photo

Posted: Updated: March 20, 2014 05:44 PM
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -

A Cannon County woman has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming a Middle Tennessee restaurant fired her after she complained of co-workers sharing a nude photo of her.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Jennifer Madonia alleges Uncle Bud's Catfish Shack in Murfreesboro fired her after she found out a co-worker obtained a nude photo of her and was showing other co-workers.

The lawsuit does not mention how the co-worker obtained the photo.

The lawsuit states that after Madonia complained to her manager, she learned that the supervisors were continuing to pass the images among themselves.

Madonia said she reported the activity to her manager and the manager said there would be an investigation, but instead, her hours were cut back.

The lawsuit then says Madonia was fired when she asked her boss why her hours were cut.

Madonia filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May of 2013 and received a "Notice of Right to Sue" in December.

She is suing for damages, to get her job back with full back pay, and her attorney fees.

News 2 went to find the owners of the Uncle Bud's Murfreesboro location, but it is now closed.

Five out of six Uncle Bud's location are closed and the only location still in operation is in Donelson.  

The general manager of the location identified himself as the father of the former owner of the Uncle Bud's restaurants, Craig Dever, who is named in the lawsuit.

But he said neither Dever nor Jay Smith, who is also named in the suit, are affiliated with the Uncle Bud's in Donelson.

He also said he had no comment on the lawsuit because he had not been served with the suit.

The general manager added he was not sure if his son or his former business partner had been formally served with the lawsuit.

News 2 also went to the address listed in the lawsuit as the place to serve the lawsuit and the address is a former Uncle Bud's location that is being renovated for a new restaurant not affiliated with Uncle Bud's.

Calls and emails to Madonia's attorney were not immediately returned.

Paz Haynes is an attorney with Bones McAllester Norton specializing in employment law.

He is not affiliated with either side of the case, but reviewed the federal lawsuit.

"These are very serious allegations involving work place misconduct, the misuse of social media and technology, and retaliation," he said. "Both parties have a right to be heard and gather evidence to determine what really happened."

Haynes said the odds do not favor the employee in most workplace discrimination cases.

"Statistics have shown that a majority of work place discrimination lawsuits, employment discrimination lawsuits or what have you are resolved in favor of the employer," he said.

According to court records, the defendants have 21 days to respond to the lawsuit and are supposed to be present for an initial case management conference in front of Magistrate Judge Bryant at 10 a.m. May 19.

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