A Donald Trump business is once again facing some legal trouble. A former pastry chef at Donald Trump’s Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court alleging that he was fired for participating in a sexual harassment investigation, Newsweek reports. According to the lawsuit, former executive pastry chef Graham Randall encouraged employees to report sexual harassment they had allegedly experienced at the hands of two high-level Mar-a-Lago managers. Six months later, he was let go from his position; he’s now suing Mar-a-Lago, as well as the two managers, for violating the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and the Whistleblower Act
The lawsuit alleges that in April 2017, Randall was approached by pastry chef Chelsea Braswell, who complained of inappropriate text messages from food and beverage director Aaron Fuller and executive chef Bogdan Boerean. Later that day, another pastry chef, Elisa Cordon, complained of similar issues with Boerean. Because both men held roles superior to Randall’s, he told Braswell and Cordon to bring the complaints to HR. They did, and Randall was eventually interviewed by Mar-a-Lago’s human resources director.
At the close of the internal investigation, Fuller and Boerean were reprimanded in writing. According to the lawsuit, the two men apologized to Randall for their behavior and thanked him for “saving their careers” by telling the HR director he thought the behavior was “out of character” for the two men. However, six months later, Fuller and Borean terminated his position, citing lost income from cancelled charity events.
The lawsuit claims that Randall was actually fired in retaliation for his participation in the sexual harassment investigation and argues that the resort wasn’t struggling financially. It states that Mar-a-Lago’s Department of Labor request for more foreign employees last year is proof that the resort had the funds to keep Randall employed and that the Trump presidency has made Mar-a-Lago more, not less, financially successful. (In June of 2017, it was reported that Mar-a-Lago revenues had risen by nearly 25 percent over the prior year.)
This is the second time Randall has taken action against Mar-a-Lago. In November 2017, weeks after being terminated, Randall filed an employment discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. No decision has been made in that case. Randall is seeking an undisclosed sum in damages and would like to be hired back as executive pastry chef. Meanwhile, it appears that the accused men are still employed at Mar-a-Lago.
• Former Mar-a-Lago Employee Files Lawsuit Against Trump’s Resort, Claiming he was Fired for Exposing Sexual Harassment [Newsweek]
• Lawsuit Against Mar-a-Lago [Scribd]
• Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Wants to Hire Foreign Workers as Servers and Cooks [E]