TAMPA — A Pinellas County woman is suing a St. Petersburg gift business and its officers, alleging failing to pay overtime wages, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, retaliation and breach of contract. 

Kymberlee Rau filed a lawsuit Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Tampa Division against Cuppa Inc., Cuppa CEO Richard D. Griswold, chairman Jeffrey D. Maddux and president Lou Moser, alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act in failing to pay employees for all hours worked.

According to the complaint, in November 2011, Rau was rehired by the defendants as a saleswoman. In early September 2014, the suit says, the defendants began engaging in a deliberate pattern of erroneously deducting compensable time on her time card, such as lunch breaks that she did not take and unpaid overtime wages.

The lawsuit states when Rau complained to Moser that Griswold improperly computed her wages, she was directed to see Griswold, who became verbally and physically aggressive toward her. On June 20, 2016, the suit alleges, the defendants falsely accused Rau of altering her time cards and forging officers' initials. She says she resigned from employment June 22 because of the intolerable situation and fear for her safety. 

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to properly apprise its employees of their rights under the FLSA, failed to keep or provide an accurate record of its employees' hours worked, responded to the plaintiff's inquiry by physically assaulting her, and engaged in a pattern of harassment and intimidation.

Rau seeks trial by jury, back pay, front pay, damages, interest, costs of suit, attorney fees and all relief the court deems just. She is represented by attorney R. Michael Pierro of the Law Office of R. Michael Pierro in St. Petersburg.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Tampa Division Case number 16-cv-03230

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U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Tampa Division
801 North Florida Avenue
Tampa, FL 33602

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