SCARBOROUGH — The parent company of a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in Scarborough is denying claims that a former employee was harassed or fired based on his transgender status, according to a Sept. 8 court filing.

Kye Hubbard, of Westbrook, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Maine on July 1, alleging he was harassed and fired from his job as a shift leader at the franchise at 284 Payne Road, all relating to his identifying as a transgender man.

Hubbard alleged that other employees began harassing him after his local manager, Brandon Avery, revealed his status against his wishes on May 1, 2018, leading to other employees harassing him, including referring to him as “it.”

Hubbard further alleges that regional management refused to fire Avery, and that a second manager, Jen Arnott, curtailed Hubbard’s duties, listed Hubbard on a sheet other employees could see referring to him by his birth name and, in a note to him, referred to him as “sexy.”

“Defendants did not act with malice or with reckless indifference to any rights enjoyed by (the) plaintiff,” K. Joshua Scott, the Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based attorney representing Cafua Management and Exit 42 Donuts, the companies that own and manage the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise at 284 Payne Road, wrote in the Sept. 8 answer.

The defendants’ answer, filed on Sept. 8, admits Hubbard complained to regional management about being referred to as “it,” but indicates management didn’t fire Avery because “Mr. Avery had resigned his employment on May 12, 2018, prior to any complaint by the plaintiff.”

Hubbard’s lawsuit indicates he initially lodged a complaint with regional management on May 15, 2018.

As to the allegations against Arnott, the company denies she harassed him. Hubbard’s birth name was listed along with other employees on a document asking employees to indicate they’d received the employee handbook. The sheet showed Hubbard’s birth name, the answer argued, because that is Hubbard’s legal name. The answer also admits Arnott sent a text message to Hubbard with the word “sexy” in it, but the answer offered no further detail, and denies it was harassment.

Hubbard has alleged he was fired on Jan. 25, 2019, just days after he informed the company that he had reported the alleged harassment to the Maine Human Rights Commission. The company’s answer indicates he was fired for vaping inside the store, against company regulations, and not in retaliation.

Hubbard’s attorney, James Clifford, declined on behalf of his client to comment on the company’s denial of the allegations.

According to the company’s website, Cafua Management owns more than 200 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in seven states, including Maine. Scott said the company oversees the Scarborough location, but technically Exit 42 Donuts is the owning company. Scott declined to comment further on the case, but did say the case now enters the discovery and deposition process; no hearing date has been set.

Sean Murphy 780-9094

Email: [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.