The operator of Chancellor’s Grill, a restaurant located in the Chancellor’s House luxury hotel, is staring down a proposed class action filed over allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
Behind the lawsuit is a Black woman who worked as a pastry chef at the Oxford, Mississippi restaurant from March to July 2017. The woman claims the defendants uphold “segregationary rules” in the workplace, such as allegedly forbidding Black employees from using the restroom in the hotel.
“Most black employees are required to use another restroom in a less convenient location,” the lawsuit states. “White employees and others are permitted to use the restroom in the hotel.”
The suit additionally alleges that the defendants routinely favored white applicants for front-of-house positions and notes that the number of Black back-of-house employees was disproportionately higher than the number of Black front-end workers.
The plaintiff goes on to allege that she was sexually harassed “on a daily basis” by the restaurant’s head chef. From the lawsuit:
“This included deliberately brushing his clothed genitals against her bottom as he walked past her, commenting on her physical appearance and expressing his desire to engage in sexual activity with her, and groping/touching her inappropriately. This also included personal text messaging before, during and after work hours.”
After reporting the man’s conduct to the restaurant’s sous chef, the head chef allegedly “removed [the plaintiff] completely from the schedule” in retaliation.
“Weeks later,” the case continues, “[the head chef] told her that she could come back to work if she did not have a boyfriend, and that she should come by his apartment and afterward they would talk about the work schedule.”