Former assistant manager Carl McRath, 31, said he never sexually harassed any of the women who worked with him and thought they were his friends until the accusations.
McRath was named in a federal suit filed in September by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as one of two men who allegedly sexually harassed Aretha Johnson and other women workers at the Dad’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant on Noble Street in Anniston.
McRath, who says he worked at the restaurant for six years, five and a half as assistant manager, said he helped Johnson get a job at the restaurant. He said he helped some of the women move from one house to another.
He said he had delivered furniture to the mother of one co-worker. He said he had been to their homes and they had been to his.
“We all, everybody from the top to the bottom, we all have played; we all have joked around; we all have partied together. We all was friends,” McRath said. “If they felt so uncomfortable with me, why did they let all this go on?”
The complaint alleges that Johnson and other women at the restaurant were subjected to sexual advances including requests for sex, inappropriate touching, and vulgar sexual talk.
The complaint states that the women told the men their behavior was unwelcome and complained to management.
McRath said none of the women complained to him about feeling uncomfortable with his behavior and he was never approached by his bosses about complaints.
In addition, McRath said, before the complaint was filed, the women never complained to him about Cedric Bailey, a cook at the restaurant who was the second man named in the complaint, and he never witnessed any of the alleged inappropriate behavior.
It has been a difficult time both personally and professionally since the complaint was filed, said McRath, an Anniston resident.
“Me and my wife, we have a great relationship and she done stuck by me with all this stuff going on,” McRath said. “She knows it’s not true.”
He said he continued to work at the restaurant for a while following the accusations. But in March McRath left for a new job. He now works in a poultry processing plant in Gadsden. It’s a change, but he said he felt like it was time for a change.
“I come home stress-free,” McRath said. “I like what I do. I get off 3:30, 4 o’clock every day. I got my weekends off.”
The Star’s attempts to contact Dad’s Bar-B-Que owner Thomas E. Coleman this week were unsuccessful. Attempts to locate Johnson and Bailey were unsuccessful.
Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545.