Wills, of Tipp City,claimed in a lawsuit filed in 2011 that he was fired in July 2010 from his job as the general manager of the Cracker Barrel on Miller Lane. Attorneys for Cracker Barrel claim Willis resigned, was not fired and therefore has no claim. Both sides accused the other of cover ups.
Wills, 47 when he filed suit, moved to the Dayton store in 2003. Named general manager of the year in 2007, Willis was diagnosed with hemochromatosis in 2008. That condition led to Willis taking approved time off multiple times from 2008 and 2010 and other time as necessary for doctors’ appointments, according to court documents
Wills’ suit says that on July 31, 2010, he was called in to talk to Cracker Barrel district manager David Miller. Wills claims Miller told him, “You’re done” and to turn in his keys. Wills claims he only produced a hand-written resignation letter because Miller said that’s the only way Wills would get benefits including two more weeks pay, vacation pay and bonus pay. In court documents, Miller denies the allegation, saying that “I did not terminate Wills or tell him that if he did not resign he would be fired.”
Cracker Barrel has been sued in multiple lawsuits relating to the chain’s discriminatory practices against customers and staff. In 2004, it settled a 2004 discrimination lawsuit with the U.S. Justice Department by paying $8.7 million. The company paid $2 million in a suit brought against three Illinois restaurants.