New York (Reuters) – Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS.N) filed a counterclaim on Tuesday against the former Chief Executive Officer, who was partially fired for alleging that he had sexually harassed a co-worker.
FILE PHOTO: A woman looks in from a window of a Barnes & Noble store in New York on October 24, 2012. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid
The largest US bookstore chain said Demos Parneros violated his loyalty and loyalty obligations and acted as a "treacherous servant" by sexually harassing a senior female executive, harassing subordinates and trying to secure a potential takeover of the New York based company "Sabotage" companies.
The lawyers of Parneros did not respond immediately to comments.
Parneros had accused Barnes & Noble in his complaint of August 28 for breach of contract and defamation. He said the company and Leonard Riggio, the founder and largest shareholder, fired in July after only 14 months. He demanded a severance payment of more than 4 million US dollars and other damages.
Barnes & Noble noted that Parneros' lawsuit is "downplayed" as to what has happened and that the company should get back its salary, bonus and other benefits during its "unfaithful conduct" and cancel its outstanding stock awards.
Barnes & Noble said the female executive reported two incidents in which Parneros allegedly exposed her to unwanted touch or sexual commentary.
It said that in the second incident, Parneros allegedly drew up the executive so that their faces touched, and when she tried to retreat, he said she looked like someone who would "get out" if he did " would drink and eat ".
Barnes & Noble also said that Parneros derailed a takeover that would have cost him the role of CEO after portraying the company as an "ugly mess" that had "no realistic prospects of success" at a meeting with executives of the potential acquirer in June ,
According to the counterclaim, Barnes & Noble has received "additional complaints about inappropriate behavior of women by Parneros towards the company since its termination". Barnes & Noble refused.
The company is reviewing its options for sale, and in July appointed a three-member leadership group to share the responsibilities of the CEO until a replacement for Parneros could be found. Riggio remained CEO.
The share price of Barnes & Noble has fallen by nearly two-thirds since July 2015. He's struggling with declining sales and pedestrians as competitors compete with competitors such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).
The case is Parneros v. Barnes & Noble Inc., US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-07834.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York