Weslodge owners respond to harassment allegations
After days of silence following allegations levelled against its former kitchen staff, the owners of Weslodge have finally issued a statement addressing the matter. As to whether it will mollify the growing list of the restaurant's critics is another matter altogether.
Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji, who own a host of restaurants around the city, characterize the alleged incidents as contrary to the company's values, but remain somewhat vague on how it is that they'll improve the environment in the kitchen at Weslodge beyond increasing "feedback sessions" and the introduction of "additional reporting oversight."
With regard to the role management might have played in allowing the alleged harassment to take place, Kabouth and Harji cite a lack of communication and reporting, which left them out of the proverbial loop and thus unable to address the incidents.
Have a read of the statement below. Do you think it's enough?
We are troubled by the allegations of inappropriate behaviour that occurred in our Weslodge restaurant more than a year ago that has newly come to our attention. The allegations as described by a former employee are disturbing and unacceptable and in no way reflect our organizational values.
We are committed to ensuring a safe work place and have zero tolerance for harassment or discriminatory behaviour. We have undertaken a review of the human resources process and procedures, notably related to Weslodge.
Our investigation of the allegations has revealed that there may have been lack of communication and reporting of the alleged incidents at Weslodge in 2012. This circumstance impeded our ability to affect appropriate remedies, and we regret this.
We are committed to promoting a culture of inclusiveness and to nurture and celebrate back of house talent.
To this end, we are focused on engaging with our employees in more meaningful ways. In the short term, we will increase the frequency and modify the structure of our information and feedback sessions and we will introduce additional reporting oversight. We will seek out opportunities to support and work with other industry leaders to drive positive change within the food and beverage community.
We have parted ways with all the individuals involved in the allegations throughout various times in 2014. We remain hopeful that this matter can be resolved through mediation with Ms. Burnham.
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