BEAUFORT, S.C. (CN) - A hotel owner asked a job candidate about her sex life, claiming it was research for a book about masturbation, then denied it, saying the applicant "must have talked with a ghost," the woman claims in court.
Danielle Williams sued Rung LLC dba Country Inn & Suites Beaufort, Country Inns & Suites by Carlson, Carlson Hotels, Jitendra Desai, and Shiv Desai, in the Beaufort County Court of Common Pleas.
Jitendra Desai, also known as Jay Desai, owns the Country Inn & Suites Beaufort. His son Shiv Desai is general manager of the hotel, according to the complaint.
Williams claims Shiv Desai interviewed her for a housekeeping job at the hotel and hired her on Oct. 3, 2012.
She says Desai's father, who called himself "the big boss," started harassing her right away, making her quit her job after only two days.
After Shiv Desai hired her, she was asked to fill in employment paperwork in the hotel dining room, according to the complaint.
"As Ms. Williams filled out the paperwork, she was approached by Jay Desai," the complaint states. "He said: 'Hello beautiful. Do you know you're beautiful?' Ms. Williams thanked him and continued with her paperwork. Jay sat in the seat across from her and introduced himself as the 'big boss.' He stated that nothing gets done at the hotel without his say. He then stated that he had to ask her some questions and she had to pass a test before she would be hired.
"His first questions were: 'Do you masturbate?' and 'Do you use your fingers to play with yourself?' Ms. Williams was shocked at these questions but replied: 'No and what does that have to do with my application?' Jay told her just to answer these questions because he was writing a book about women who masturbate. Ms. Williams was extremely uncomfortable but she responded: 'No.'
"Jay then stated that women do play with themselves and that she was lying. He reached across the table, touched Ms. Williams' arm and said: 'Tell me you play with yourself.' Ms. Williams pulled away and stated that such acts were forbidden by God.
"Undaunted, Jay then asked if she was married, if she had children, if she is the only person in her family working, and if so, is she going to have sex with men for money. He also asked if her husband was the father of all of her children and whether or not her husband pleased her.
"As he asked these questions, Jay again touched Ms. Williams' arm. He reiterated that he was the one who made all of the decisions at the hotel. He then asked if she would 'spread [her] legs open for just anyone,' and if she was born in the United States.
"At this time, Shiv came back into the dining area and told Jay that he had already interviewed Ms. Williams and she was hired. Ms. Williams was obviously greatly disturbed by this behavior, but given Shiv's intervention, she assumed that her contact with Jay, the 'big boss' was a fluke and would not be repeated.
"On Oct. 4, 2012, Ms. Williams started her first day as a housekeeper at the hotel. She was still rattled by the encounter with Jay and during her shift, Ms. Williams told her supervisor about the meeting the day before. The supervisor told her not to mind Jay and that he was often intoxicated. The supervisor told her that she would tell the general manager, Shiv, who is Jay's son, to have Jay leave Ms. Williams alone.
"On Oct. 5, 2012, Ms. Williams was working when she noticed Jay the 'big boss' walking around the area. As she was halfway finished cleaning room 308, Jay came in and asked how she was doing. She said fine and Jay responded: 'I don't think you are good yet.' Several minutes later Jay returned and told her he needed to recheck some of her rooms. Jay stated that he was not picking on her; he just inspects rooms from time to time.
"Ms. Williams attempted to show Jay a room across the hall, near where another housekeeper was working, but he insisted on checking a room farther down the hall. She followed him to a different room and, once inside, Jay said he was upset with her. He said: 'You told my girls that I am a nasty old man.' He asked Ms. Williams what she specifically said to the girls, to which she responded: 'I told them what you told me about masturbation ...' Before she could finish, Jay began to yell, stating that he did not say that and she must have talked with a ghost and he never tried to 'come on' to her.
"At this time, Ms. Williams moved to leave the room but Jay blocked the door, preventing her escape. He said Ms. Williams was lying and he knew 'her kind.' By this time, other housekeepers heard the commotion and were standing outside the door. Ms. Williams left the room, grabbed her bag from her cleaning cart and went down stairs. As she was leaving, her supervisor advised her to seek legal help." (Ellipses in complaint).
Williams claims Jay Desai followed her, yelled at her to leave and asked the front desk to call police.
She says she called the police herself and filed a report, but no charges were filed.
She claims Shiv Desai, who knew his father had a history of "making similar advances and exhibiting lewd and outrageous behavior toward other female employees," did nothing to stop him, and ignored her complaint.
Williams seeks compensatory and punitive damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, false imprisonment and negligent supervision.
She is represented by Christopher Geier.