The Route 9 Diner, the only restaurant in the area to be open 24/7 was a frequent hot spot for college students and locals alike in Hadley, Massachusetts. The image of this quaint retro diner was flipped on its head when a former waitress, Marie Billeil wrote a blog called “Tales from the Diner”, where she publicly uncovered the sexual abuse riddle throughout the establishment. She worked at the restaurant from 2008 to 2013 and outlined the abuse that happened to her and other coworkers. Some of the harassments include: chefs kissing or biting waitresses’ necks, cornering them in the walk-in cooler, making negative comments about their bodies, grabbing them, and excessively flirting with them after being asked not to. Billie recalls in her blog:
“The truth is that there was such consistent harassment from the cooks that in the next few months it became background noise. I grew accustomed to being greeted by a chorus of “mmmmmmmmm” when I entered the kitchen, complete with licked lips and hungry stares.”
Billiel also emphasizes the point that none of the managers or owners did anything about the abuse when it was reported to them. Since Billiel bravely brought attention to the issue, ten other employees have come forward with sexual harassment allegations.
State Attorny General Maura Healey filed a discrimination complaint against Route 9 Diner, charging its owners Christopher Karabetsos and Argiris Sideris and two managers Dimitrios Demos and Steven Kwak with a sexual harassment complaint. In response to this, they decided to close their business. Now this is where the case becomes ground breaking. Typically, when a business closes, the case against them is dropped. However, the Attorney General has decided to continue on with the Sexual Harassment Complaint against them! It seems as if Mrs. Healey is trying to make an example out of the restaurant, and I’m glad she is!