A shocking breaking story from Houstonia features editor Katharine Shilcutt states that a former Underbelly employee has filed a lawsuit against that restaurant as well as another famous establishment, The Pass & Provisions, alleging "tortious interference, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress." Shilcutt writes:
In a petition filed with the Harris County District Court on November 13, Rachel Johnston—who worked for Underbelly owner/chef Chris Shepherd at his former restaurant, Catalan, before following Shepherd to Underbelly when it opened in February 2012—claims she was put on a two-week unpaid leave and later fired from Underbelly following an incident at The Pass & Provisions.
That incident involves a manager from The Pass asking Johnston and her friends to leave that restaurant prematurely to make room for other diners, at which point Johnston's friend caused a commotion. The plaintiff claims that upon returning to work she was scolded by Underbelly co-owners Chris Shepherd and Kevin Floyd for the events that transpired at that dinner, which took place on her day off from Underbelly, and that she was later terminated on the basis of a false accusation, since Shepherd and Floyd allegedly said that they couldn't fire her based on the incident at The Pass. The suit also describes a hostile work environment at Underbelly:
In the petition, Johnston claims that the work environment at Underbelly was "rampant with disparaging comments about women and/or remarks laden with sexual innuendo." She claims Shepherd would ask "questions about her sex life and would offer to engage in sexual activities with her," "frequently used derogatory terms about women guests and employees," and "fostered an environment of perverse behavior, sexist remarks, and hostility to women."
Update: The Clumsy Butcher group recently saw a chef shuffle with Ryan Lachaine's departure from Underbelly. A representative for the company and Lachaine himself have stated that there is absolutely no connection between the incidents. The official statement from Clumsy Butcher: "There is no correlation between this lawsuit and Ryan Lachaine's departure. Other than both being former employees, there is no connection whatsoever."
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