Following allegations of sexual assault, the famous TV personality and Italian chef, Mario Batali, has officially cut ties from his restaurant businesses. The high-profile incident is helping shed light on one of many industries that have often left female employees in pain, humiliation and distress.
Leaving the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group
The Bastianich family partnered with Batali in 1998 to form the B&B Hospitality Group, which has owned up to 30 restaurants. When several female employees of the group accused Batali of sexual harassment at the start of 2018, the star quickly responded with an apology, saying that the behavior described in the anonymous allegations “does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.”
The claims alleged multiple situations in which Batali groped or otherwise touched female employees inappropriately at work or made lewd comments.
Following the news of his sexual misconduct, Batali ceased his involvement in B&B Hospitality Group restaurants. However, he continued to make a profit from them through his partial ownership.
Now, Batali has sold his shares of the remaining 16 restaurants in a payout agreement with the Bastianich family. Details of the agreement are being kept confidential. Batali will also be cutting ties with the Italian marketplace, Eataly.
Witnessing sexual assault in the workplace
Joe Bastianich claims he had witnessed Batali’s inappropriate comments but claimed ignorance to his business partner’s actions. Some of the anonymous ex-employees have refuted this, claiming that Bastianich would have been aware that Batali physically harassed employees too.
However, it’s important to know that both verbal and physical instances of sexual harassment in the workplace are unacceptable. According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), workplace sexual harassment encompasses any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct of a sexual nature. This could even include sharing offensive material in an email or on a public forum at work.
Sexual harassment creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment for the victim, which can interfere with their mental and physical health, as well as their job performance. In fact, some victims of workplace sexual assault even develop depression, anxiety or PTSD from these incidents.
Speaking out against sexual harassment
If you have witnessed sexual harassment or been a victim yourself, it’s very important to speak up about the matter. While allegations against celebrities have been more highly publicized in recent years, workplace sexual harassment has always been a pervasive issue across the vast majority of workplaces in the country.
To learn more about your options, speak with an employment law attorney about your unique situation. A lawyer can walk you through your options and help make your voice heard.