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Barnes & Noble Details Ex-CEO's Alleged Misdeeds

Bookseller countersues Demos Parneros, details why he was fired
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2018 12:48 PM CDT
In this photo taken by AP Images for Staples, Martha Stewart demonstrates organizational solutions with Demos Parneros, president U.S. retail, Staples, during the launch of the Martha Stewart Home Office...   (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Staples)
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(Newser) – Barnes & Noble fired Demos Parneros in July. He sued Barnes & Noble over the firing in August. Now Barnes & Noble is hitting back: The bookseller is countersuing Parneros, claiming its former CEO "breached his duties of loyalty and good faith," per Reuters. He did so, B&N says, by allegedly sexually harassing a female employee, bullying workers under him, and trying to "sabotage" a potential sale of the company. B&N originally had not specified why Pareneros, who did not receive severance, was fired, the Wall Street Journal reports. Parneros initially sued because, he claimed, the company fired him for no reason after just 14 months on the job; B&N says in its suit that Parneros "downplays what occurred." Now, in response to the bookseller's countersuit, he has issued a statement denying all of the company's allegations.

The sexual harassment claim is "completely false" and he never bullied anyone, he says, adding that he was also "fully supportive of the sales process from the start." But B&N says that in addition to the female employee who says that, on two occasions, Parneros subjected her to unwanted touching or sexual comments, the company has received "additional complaints about Parneros’ inappropriate behavior toward women" since he was fired. Pareneros' suit sought $4 million in severance plus other damages; B&N's suit says the company should be allowed to recoup Pareneros' salary, bonus, and any other benefits accrued during the time his "disloyal conduct" was allegedly occurring, plus cancel his outstanding equity awards. (An Alphabet exec is also out without an exit package after claims of sexual harassment.)

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