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Harassment stews throughout the restaurant industry

The advent of the #MeToo movement has shown that the employees’ culture of the restaurant industry is inundated with sexual harassment. The latest high-profile chef to be exposed is California Bay Area restauranteur Charlie Hallowell. In December of 2017, 17 women accused Hallowell of demeaning them in the workplace through sexual harassment, lewd advances and explicit language.

Accusations and Protests

In protest, some workers at quit over Hallowell’s continued investment in his restaurant Boot and Shoe Service despite calls for him to divest from the business. Even though Hallowell has temporarily removed himself from managing the daily operations of his three restaurants including Pizzaiolo and Penrose, he continues to benefit as the owner of the enterprises.

Harassment Is Widespread

The allegations in the Bay Area are all too familiar all over the United States. In several cities, high-profile restaurant-owning chefs are being exposed as harassers, using overtly sexual language in the workplace and creating predatory and hostile environments in their kitchens.

Bringing Women to the Table

For a couple of high-profile restaurant companies, the answer has been to bring women into upper management to create a sea change in the industry. Harassment allegations against New Orleans’ John Besh prompted the move to promote Shannon White, who started as a server with one of Besh’s restaurants six years ago, to CEO of Besh’s BRG restaurant management group.

Mario Batali’s harassment transgressions have left his partner Joe Bastianich in the lurch. While Bastianich looks to disengage from his business relationship with Batali, he has brought in and his mother, legendary restauranteur and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich, to help stabilize operations.

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in the restaurant industry, you are not alone. It takes courage to report harassment in the workplace and you may have questions about what happens next if you report. The attorneys at California Employment Counsel, APC can answer your questions and be your experienced advocate in a sexual harassment litigation process.

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