5 Things Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Sex-Based Discrimination

5 Things Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Sex-Based Discrimination

Turns out, sexual harassment isn’t the only type of sex-based complaint employers are facing. LGBT-related workplace complaints are on the rise, but unlike with sexual harassment, the law isn’t nearly as clear. In fact, it varies extensively across state and federal courts, leaving many employers at a loss to understand their legal obligations. Let’s take a look at what restaurant owners need to know about sex-based discrimination in the workplace – what conduct is illegal and where.  

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Mike Isabella's Sexual Harassment Case Got Upgraded to the Federal Court

Mike Isabella's Sexual Harassment Case Got Upgraded to the Federal Court

Last month, Chloe Caras, a former manager for Mike Isabella, filed a lawsuit against the celebrity chef in D.C. Superior Court. Since then, that suit was dismissed by her lawyers to file a new one at the federal level.

As reported by “The Washington Post,” an expanded lawsuit filed in federal court this week by Caras’ lawyers alleges that Isabella’s company used non-disclosure agreements to discourage employees from speaking out about sexual harassment.

The NDAs, which involve a $500,000 penalty every time the agreement is breached, have caused that many witnesses to the hostile and sexually charged work environment— allegedly fostered by Mike Isabella and his business partners (Taha Ismail, Yohan Allender, George Pagonis, and Nicholas Pagonis)—speak in anonymity.

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Building the Non-Sexual Harassment Restaurant Culture

Building the Non-Sexual Harassment Restaurant Culture

For many seasons on the popular HBO series Game of Thrones, they kept saying that “Winter is coming” that was foreshadowing of a Great War to come. Well, Winter is here for the restaurant industry! The great restaurant storm of 2018 is upon us and many will need to form alliances (already happening), some will rebrand (already happening), and all will need to understand that people are what makes the difference (not there yet).

We, as an industry, perpetuate memes and jokes around the internet that display our world as overworked, devalued, and unappreciated. It’s not so funny that we tend to get what we ask for. We become the stereotypes we share.

How do we change this sexual harassment culture that infests so much of our industry? How can we reverse the course which we seem to be heading down to becoming the next Sodom and Gomorrah?

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Top Managers Quit Charlie Hallowell Restaurant Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Top Managers Quit Charlie Hallowell Restaurant Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

In the latest chapter of harassment allegations in our industry, three managers and chefs from Charlie Hallowell’s Boot and Shoe Service have resigned over alleged “serial harassment” from the owner.

Last year, 17 former employees of Hallowell’s Pizzaiolo, Boot & Shoe Service, and Penrose restaurants accused the restaurateur of creating a demoralizing work environment where his "indecent propositions and about of his power were the norm," and that the workplace featured a "near-constant stream of sexually explicit language."

An ultimatum was proposed earlier this month when a group of seven top managers threatened to resign from the Oakland restaurant if Hallowell didn’t divest from the restaurant. This weekend, protests were staged outside the restaurant over the alleged harassment and the way Hallowell and his company have handled the allegations.

Crisis consultant Larry Kamer, who was recently brought in as a spokesman for the restaurant group, said that the protest was peaceful and that the picketers would not lose their jobs as a result. Staff from the other restaurants were brought in during the protest, and he said the company is hiring people to fill jobs of departing employees.

“We know there are a number of people who feel strongly about this,” Kamer said

This protest came at a time when hundreds of women marched across the country as a part of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement.

By Sunday, three managers and chefs had resigned from Boot & Shoe Service after their demands that he divest from the company were not met.

“I feel pretty sad. I feel like I really had some measure of hope — maybe I was naive — that this was going to work,” said Emily Hayward, who resigned as general manager along with pastry chef Jenny Raven and brunch manager Stephanie Chevalier. However, Hayward added, “I feel very confident in my decision. The lack of response really told me everything I needed to hear as far as my value.”

Boot & Shoe Service chef Gregg Cashmark, sous chef Matt Fishman and cafe manager Greg Francis told The San Francisco Chronicle they are also planning to quit in the coming days. Top staff from Hallowell’s two other Oakland restaurants, Pizzaiolo and Penrose, did not join them in the action.

After the original Chronicle investigation was published Dec. 27th, Hallowell responded by removing himself from his company’s day-to-day operations while an outside attorney conducts an investigation.

Read more at “The San Francisco Chronicle.”

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Chef Charlie Hallowell Steps Down After 17 Women Accuse Him Of Sexual Misconduct

Chef Charlie Hallowell Steps Down After 17 Women Accuse Him Of Sexual Misconduct
  • First John Besh, then Todd English, Mario Batali, then Ken Friedman. Now, Charlie Hallowell is the antagonist of the latest sexual harassment scandal in the restaurant industry.

  • Women, empowered to speak up, sought out justice when they denounced Chef Charlie Hallowell of sexual harassment.

Most recently, you may have seen celebrities share on their social media platforms posts referring to the Time’s Up movement. The open letter by 300 female professionals from the entertainment industry was in response to another open letter which was sent in solidarity with Hollywood actresses on behalf of 700,000 female farmworkers whom have also experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s a move towards fighting the “systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces nationwide,” reports “The New York Times.”

Sadly, sexual harassment cases continue to headline the news, especially in the restaurant industry.

After 17 former female employees came forward detailing years of sexual harassment and verbal abuse allegations in the workplace, Oakland Chef Charlie Hallowell decided to distance himself from his restaurant group, as reported by the “San Francisco Chronicle,” last week.

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