State Division of Human Rights awards Norwich girl $500,000

NORWICH – Two former Norwich business owners have been ordered to pay an ex-employee $500,000 after subjecting her to “horrendous” sexual harassment, including sexual assault.

Dale Blackwood and Melissa Almonor, former owners of the Quizno’s sandwich shop in Chenango Towne Plaza, were ordered to pay the sum by the state Division of Human Rights after the young woman charged them with unlawful discriminatory conduct in employment.

The girl, who will not be identified due to The Evening Sun’s policy of not identifying victims of sexual assault, was hired at the Norwich shop in September. Blackwood and Almonor were both the owners of the store, the officers of Young Legends LLC, the company that operated the Quizno’s franchise and the day-to-day managers of the restaurant.

In court documents, the young woman describes Blackwood as being “touchy feely” with the female employees. She contends he often made inappropriate comments to them and would discuss personal matters. At least one female employee left the company, and in a written letter to Almonor, cited Blackwood’s inappropriate behavior as the reason.

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