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Melissa Rodriguez, a former Oak Room pastry chef at New York's Plaza hotel, has filed a $25 million lawsuit against former Executive Chef Eric Hara, claiming that, as her boss, he subjected her to sexual and physical harassment for the year she was on the job.
In one of the stranger allegations, Rodriguez accuses Hara of throwing her in the trash, and dumping cream, chocolate sauce, and honey in her hair on a near-daily basis.
Though chefs are notorious for their less-than-accommodating demeanor and attitude in the kitchen, if the allegations against Eric Hara are true, then he, and the Plaza, are likely liable for at least some of the requested damages.
In addition to repeatedly throwing the Oak Room pastry chef in the trash, the New York Post reports that Rodriguez alleges that Hara nicknamed her "whore," made comments about sleeping with her, and threatened to ruin her career if she quit.
This behavior appears to be in direct violation of workplace discrimination laws against sexual harassment and discrimination. It also amounts to battery and assault.
It's unclear whether the lawsuit also names the Plaza as a defendant, but it's important to note that an employer may be held responsible for this type of harassment if it fails to remedy the situation once a complaint has been made.
Melissa Rodriguez claims that she complained to management according to the Post, but, despite promising a new boss, she still remained the Oak Room pastry chef, working under and providing desserts for Eric Hara.