Big time New Orleans restaurateur, John Besh, is removing himself from the company he started 12 years ago after more than two dozen female employees reported facing sexual harassment there.
“John has decided to step down from all aspects of operations and to provide his full focus on his family,” said Shannon White, who is now chief executive of the company, the Besh Restaurant Group, told employees in an email.
His move comes after the restaurant critic and reporter Brett Anderson published an expose to the restaurant’s pervasive sexual harassment. Anderson spent eight months working on his expose before finally publishing the accounts of 25 women. These 25 women claim that the Besh Restaurant Group is liable for their sexualized workplace culture and for the sexual harassment of Besh and his business partner.
Now that the news broke, Anderson explained, “The story that we put out took a lot of effort and was just a sliver of what we heard. I have sources that are disappointed in me for not getting what they told me into the story.”
“I think a lot of this could have been avoided if we had a trusted person to talk to,” said one of the alleged victims.
After earlier criticizing Weinstein, the celebrity world-traveling chef Anthony Bourdain chimed in on the claims against Besh and the ugly realities of the food industry. Bourdain said that Anderson’s expose “disgusted” him but didn’t surprise him. “Look, I know what I read in the papers and what I read in the papers is a pretty f***ing gruesome story… I don’t know the facts of the case or anything with the Besh company, but the fact that it’s a company this size and that there was not a credible avenue, no trustworthy credible office or institution in this big company for women to report or to complain with any confidence that their complaints would be addressed, this is, it’s an indictment of the system.”
What happened at the Besh Restaurant Group should never happen and employees must know their rights. In fact, there is a legal obligation for employers to notify their employees of their rights in the workplace.
For instance, many statutes and regulations enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) require that notices be provided to employees or posted somewhere in the workplace for employees to see. Posting requirements of such laws vary by statute; that is, not all employers are covered by each of the statutes, for example, some smaller businesses may not be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), thus would not be required to put up such a poster.
Some other statutes include rights under Federal laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, equal pay, disability or genetic information; the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
If an employer fails to abide by Federal or state requirements for providing notice to their employees, they may face additional liability.
If you feel your employer has engaged in unlawful behavior in the workplace, contact the New York City employment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC today for a free consultation. The experienced New York City attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience litigating employment law claims both federally and at the state level. Working together with our Philadelphia attorneys, we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients. If you feel you have been discriminated against or sexually harassed at work, please give our talented attorneys a call at 800-807-2209 for your free consultation.