U.S. News

Former Le Bernardin server ends lawsuit against New York restaurant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former server at Le Bernardin ended her lawsuit accusing the famed New York City seafood restaurant of ignoring sexual harassment complaints or shaming people from coming forward.

Kristin Avery, a server from September 2012 to July 2015, agreed to drop her lawsuit, though “there has been no settlement or waiver” of any claims, her lawyer, Maimon Kirschenbaum, said in a letter filed in the federal court in Manhattan.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan dismissed the case on Thursday night without prejudice, meaning Avery could bring it again. Kirschenbaum did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Le Bernardin declined to comment.

Avery accused Le Bernardin’s general manager of ignoring several complaints by her about harassment by male employees, including when captains allegedly touched her bottom. She also said co-owner Maguy Le Coze shamed her for her pregnancy-related weight gain.

Le Coze and chef Eric Ripert, who is also a co-owner, were also defendants in the lawsuit filed Jan. 24, which sought class-action status.

Ripert, who was not accused of harassment, in an interview at the time called Avery’s allegations “completely false.” [nL2N1PJ2IF] Le Coze denied the body shaming allegation.

Le Bernardin has three Michelin stars and four stars from the New York Times.

The lawsuit was filed six weeks after another prominent chef, Mario Batali, stepped away from his businesses after being accused of sexual misconduct.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis