Two more filings have joined the list of federal discrimination complaints against John Besh’s restaurant group, reports Brett Anderson. The new complaints, filed by Madie Robison and another woman, also allege sexual harassment at the restaurant group.
Robison was one of the women who spoke with Anderson in his stunning report on the environment of sexual harassment that flourished at Besh’s restaurant group, which came out in October. At that point, only two of the 25 women who alleged sexual harassment had filed complaints with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC).
Anderson says that Robison’s EEOC complaint echoes what was reported in the NOLA.COM report, which was “uninvited touching from a male colleague, the comments about her physical appearance, and the repeated requests by her famous boss to discuss his sex life.” Robison detailed excessive and unwanted touching by Octavio Mantilla, who told Anderson that he didn’t remember it. Robison also described booze-fueled workdays around a supervisor’s pool, during which male colleagues allegedly harassed some women.
Since the sexual harassment allegations became public knowledge in October, John Besh stepped down from his leadership role at his restaurant group. Shannon White was appointed to replace him.
Harrah’s Casino severed ties with John Besh and renamed the steakhouse in New Orleans that formerly bore his name. PBS cancelled all of his cooking shows and Top Chef edited him out of a scene that was to air this season. Besh also stepped down from the Catholic ethics board at Notre Dame.
The Besh Restaurant Group holds several restaurants in New Orleans, including August, Domenica, and Shaya (which is currently at the center of a trademark dispute). The restaurant group has a hotel arm called Our House Hospitality, which manages restaurants at the Pontchartrain Hotel and others.
When Anderson’s story was published, the group had over 1000 employees and no human resources department.