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Fired over not being gay, ex-worker Files Wrongful Termination Suit Against Suzie’s Adult Superstore

Sacramento- from – A former employee of the Suzie’s Adult Superstore on Auburn Boulevard has filed a lawsuit against the corporate owner of the sex shop on grounds that he wasn’t promoted to a sales job because he’s not gay.

In his 13-page Sacramento Superior Court lawsuit filed April 15, Michael Beaton also charged that he was instructed to alter the arcade stalls at the shop so its patrons could engage in sex acts.

A Sacramento County sheriff’s spokesman told The Bee that sex acts in such circumstances are illegal.

Plaintiff’s lawyer Jordan T. L. Peters said the promotion “would have provided him with a lot more income.” His suit also charges that management also forced him to pick up used hypodermic needles in the store.

“My client was tired of doing things that could endanger him and that he found out were illegal,” Peters said. “He refused to do it and we believe the environment became hostile to him after that.”

David Battinger of Janra Enterprises, which owns the Suzie’s sex superstores, declined to talk to a Bee reporter about the lawsuit.

“We do not comment,” Battinger said.

Beaton’s lawsuit accuses Suzie’s and Janra of wrongful termination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, retaliation, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assorted Labor Code and Business and Professions Code violations.

He is seeking general, punitive and compensatory damages, as well as attorney’s fees and other damages.

In the suit, Beaton claims he was hired in March 2009 to work as a part-time security guard at Suzie’s. He said he quickly moved up to fulltime, then started covering for sales people when they were on lunch breaks and that his supervisor told him he’d be good in that job.

Beaton said he scored high in a sales test, but that he learned that Battinger and the store’s other co-owner, Martin Castillo, turned him down for the job.

Beaton said one of his supervisors told him, “You’re just not the gay boy that they’re looking for.”

The suit said Beaton “learned that a gay man, who had been hand-picked by Mr. Battinger from Faces dance club, had been hired for the sales job.”

As for the arcade action, Beaton said that last October or November he was instructed by management to put doors on the video booths that are used by customers to view adult films. Around the same time, Beaton said, the management also told him to alter the walls of the booths to allow customers to engage in sexual activity.

With the alterations in place, arcade revenues climbed from about $200 to $300 a day to more than $1,000, the suit claims.

Sacramento sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said, “It’s a crime to have sex in those booths.”

“Our patrol deputies are very familiar with Suzie’s,” Curran said. “There have been a lot of problems associated with that location.”

Beaton said he also acted as something of a clean-up man at the sex shop, which he described as a dangerous practice in which he had to pick up used hypodermic needles and used condoms.

The suit claims the plaintiff was hurt on the job in January and told his boss in February he would no longer clean the place up or make more booth alterations. Beaton said he was fired in April.


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