A jury in California’s Napa Valley cleared the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group of wrongdoing in a pregnancy discrimination trial that ended Wednesday.
The verdict exonerates the famous chef and his acclaimed restaurants — Per Se in New York and the French Laundry in California — of charges of fraud and discrimination alleged by former employee Vannessa Scott-Allen.
Scott-Allen, 28, worked at Per Se for five years and rose to the highest server position of captain before requesting a transfer to the Napa Valley restaurant. According to her lawsuit, Scott-Allen said the transfer was approved and she moved to California, where she was told they couldn’t offer her the job. In the interim, she had told her bosses she was pregnant.
Scott-Allen was seeking more than $1 million in damages. Keller was named as an individual defendant because he owns and controls the two restaurants. An attorney for Scott-Allen, said they planned to appeal.