A new lawsuit filed last week alleges that a former manager at Brennan’s of Houston sexually harassed a server at the restaurant.
The suit, filed in Harris County court last week by a plaintiff identified only as “John Doe” alleges that Doe was drunkenly groped by Kelly Helms, a former manager, in the restaurant’s kitchen. The lawsuit also claims that Helms and other Brennan’s managers were frequently drunk on the job, and that Brennan’s “provided alcohol to its employees while on the job, in violation of state law and its own internal policies.”
Helms was allegedly fired from Brennan’s at some point after this alleged incident, but the lawsuit doesn’t specify whether or not the firing was directly related. In response to a request for comment, an attorney for Brennan’s of Houston provided the following statement:
“This lawsuit is an affront to truth and the core values of care, service and respect for our guests and employees that have defined Brennan’s of Houston for more than 50 years. When this groping incident occurred last year, the matter was thoroughly investigated, the offender was fired, there were no allegations made about anyone on staff drinking on the job and no lawsuits were filed.
But now, a full nine months after this matter was believed to have been resolved, and just one month after John Doe was himself terminated for a very serious violation of Brennan’s ethical standards, our restaurant is presented with a lawsuit full of invented allegations from John Doe. Brennan’s is confident that we will successfully defend our good name in court. In the meantime, we hope Eater readers will continue to view Brennan’s of Houston based on the high quality of care we exhibit in our food and service every day, rather than the false headlines generated by litigation such as this.”
This lawsuit is at least the second to name Brennan’s of Houston in 2019, following a $20 million suit filed in January against a different former employee of the restaurant. That suit alleged that two former Brennan’s employees drugged a Houston woman’s drink while she was dining at the restaurant, lured her home, and raped her multiple times. Brennan’s of Houston has denied all claims of liability in that suit, which is still pending.
“This case is less about money and more about Brennan’s providing proper management and supervision of its restaurant, which will benefit its current employees and dining guests,” plaintiff’s attorney Peter Taaffe said in a statement.
In this latest lawsuit, “John Doe” seeks unspecified monetary damages totaling less than $100,000. No trial date has been set.