Celebrity chef and Top Chef alumni, Mike Isabella, has been sued by a former top manager who has claimed that she was sexually harassed at their workplace by Isabella and his partners. Mike Isabella is the head of a $30 million culinary empire and has allegedly been accused in a new lawsuit.
The lawsuit has been filed by Chloe Caras, who is seeking damages from Mike Isabella, Taha Ismail, Yohan Allender, George Pagonis and Nicholas Pagonis. In the lawsuit, Caras has said that Isabella and his partners would often call her a "b***h" and a "whore". They would also comment on her buttocks and touch her without permission.
Despite the fact that she raised her concerns to Isabella, the harassment continued. "Women generally do not make it into the higher management ranks of Mr. Isabella’s establishments and when Ms. Caras did, she became the target of extraordinary sex-based hostility and abuse," the lawsuit stated.
In response to the allegations, Isabella and his company issued a statement, "Simply put, the allegations of an unwelcoming or hostile work atmosphere are false. Harassment, discrimination, bullying, abuse, or unequal treatment of any kind whatsoever are not tolerated at MIC."
Cara revealed that she reached her breaking point in early December after a particularly humiliating incident. She and Isabella were sitting in a booth when a male sous chef asked to join them. Cara recalled how Isabella said, "If you sleep with Chloe, you can," as stated in the lawsuit.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Cara shared, "I told him to stop, and he immediately got angry. I tried to walk away, and he followed me into the kitchen, calling me a b***h. As Ms. Caras reached the door to exit the restaurant, Mr. Isabella chased after her and continued calling her a ‘b***h’ and tauntingly shouted, ‘Love you, Chloe. Nice working with you," the lawsuit continued.
Cara was supposedly fired after the incident. She continued to tell the Post, "The women bashing, the sexism — that was always there. I tried to sometimes play along or ignore it. I thought if I kept doing a good job, I’d be okay."
It is believed that one of Isabella's partner's, Allender asked Cara to come back but then said that it was her comments about a co-worker which made them all uncomfortable.
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