A former bartender is suing the Guilderland bar where she once worked, claiming she was fired because she reported the owner’s son to police when he allegedly groped her.
The suit was filed last week in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County against The Cat’s Meow and the man accused of illegally touching her, Stephen Martin, of Albany County.
Martin is also criminally charged, accused of misdemeanor forcible touching in the incident. The charge remains pending in Guilderland Town Court.
Filing the lawsuit was Ericka Foley, a former bartender at The Cat’s Meow. She alleges in the suit that from the time she was hired in August 2011, Martin would sexually harass her, making sexually explicit and suggestive comments.
Foley complained about the behavior to other employees and alleges the owner, Martin’s mother, Jane, knew about it because it was out in the open and she was there at the bar daily.
A woman answering the phone Tuesday at the 14 New Karner Road establishment identifying herself as Jane Martin declined to comment, saying she had not been served with any lawsuit and was unaware of any lawsuit. There typically is a delay between lawsuits being filed with the court and defendants being served.
According to Foley’s suit, the behavior escalated to the point where on April 5, Stephen Martin groped her three times. Foley reported the incident to police April 16.
“Following plantiff’s report to police, her employment with The Cat’s Meow was terminated,” the suit reads.
In a statement Foley apparently gave to police and filed in Guilderland Town Court, she told police Martin grabbed her sexually three times as he followed her into the bar’s basement.
“While he was doing this he said to me, ‘What are you going to do, call the police?’ He was laughing like he thought this was a big joke,” Foley apparently told police.
Foley’s name is blacked out in the criminal court documents, which identify her only as a Schenectady County resident, but she identifies herself in the lawsuit. The Daily Gazette normally does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes, unless they identify themselves in instances such as lawsuits.
In the April 16 statement, Foley told police she didn’t report it for 11 days because the owner’s daughter is a friend of hers. Also, Foley said she feared losing her job.
She also did not see Stephen Martin back at the bar until April 14, when he appeared to taunt her about the incident. “What are you going to do, have me arrested?” she quoted him as saying.
The attorney listed for Stephen Martin in the criminal case, Arnis Zilgme, could not be reached for comment.
Foley seeks unspecified damages in the suit, claiming assault and battery, false imprisonment, negligence and punitive damages against Stephen Martin. Against the bar, Foley is claiming negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Foley is represented by attorney Scott M. Peterson. He did not return a call for comment.