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    Nobu Malibu Sued Over Sexual Harassment Claim; Third Lawsuit Since 2019 – The Music news

    Hollywood hotspot Nobu Malibu was sued Sept. 13 by a Jane Doe plaintiff who alleges hostesses are “subjected to an intense pattern and practice” of sexual misconduct from supervisors. According to a review of court documents by The Music news, the lawsuit contains similar claims as at least two others filed against the Malibu location of the restaurant since 2019.

    Nobu didn’t respond to email and phone inquiries for comment. The restaurant was founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and producer Meir Teper. Since opening in 1994, it’s become a hub for Hollywood power players, and the brand has expanded to include 56 locations across the world and a hotel chain.

    The trio of lawsuits claim sexual advances and groping from supervisors after which management neglected to properly respond to the alleged misconduct to prevent retaliation from the employees’ supervisors.

    The Jane Doe plaintiff who filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks at least $500,000 and punitive damages. She claims sexual assault and battery, gender discrimination and negligent hiring, among several other claims. In addition to Nobu, she names in the complaint a bar manager named Marcus whose surname wasn’t disclosed. The lawsuit states that his “patented and favorite move was to approach the hostess stand, walk closely behind the female hostesses, and lightly fondle their buttocks before they had the chance to avoid his advances.”

    On one occasion in 2021, Marcus allegedly approached the plaintiff in the back office, restrained both of her hands and kissed her neck. He was fired in early the next year after several hostesses reported him for sexual harassment to Nobu management, which was allegedly aware of his pattern of misconduct, the complaint claims.

    “Because Marcus was fired so quickly — relative to Plaintiff’s complaint, not his history of sexually inappropriate conduct toward female Nobu hostesses generally — it seemed to Plaintiff that NOBU management was well aware of Marcus’ harassing conduct, but willingly tolerated the conduct so long as no one complained, or complained too loudly or insistently,” the complaint states.

    In the wake of Marcus’ termination, Nobu human resources directed hostesses to sign a form as an acknowledgment that they were satisfied with its investigation into their complaints in an effort to secure a “blanket ‘get out of jail free’ employee concession,” according to the plaintiff. Under duress, the staff signed the document despite the firing failing to address the “bigger issue of the less visible sexually aggressive conduct of customers and other managers and co-workers,” the lawsuit claims.

    The retaliation the hostess alleged came in the form of management staff, many of whom were friends with Marcus, blocking her from being assigned to the more desirable weekend night shifts, which were given to newer hostesses in a manner that deviated from the restaurant’s long-standing scheduling procedure. Nobu supervisors were also accused of “passive inaction” for allowing Marcus to repeatedly frequent Nobu, “willingly placing their female employees at risk for revictimization and emotional distress,” the complaint says.

    Going back to 2012, Nobu has been sued for sexual harassment and retaliation in three other lawsuits. The allegations portray the restaurant as turning a blind eye to allegedly hostile work environments.

    In a complaint brought in 2020, a sushi chef alleged that another chef would regularly approach him from “behind while Plaintiff was serving food and grab Plaintiff’s butt” on top of engaging in other inappropriate touching and making crude comments. The chef who filed the complaint claimed he was fired in 2020 amid closures forced by the COVID-19 pandemic after reporting the harassment to human resources. The chef claimed he was the lone lead sushi chef who was not rehired and that the restaurant was looking for more employees in his former position. That case was dismissed in 2021 after it was moved to arbitration.

    In another lawsuit filed in 2019, which settled the next year, a kitchen worker accused the restaurant of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation and negligent hiring, among other claims. She alleged that she was continuously subjected to groping and sexually suggestive comments from her supervisor, who frequently walked behind her to press “his genitals against [her] buttocks,” according to the complaint. While management responded to this worker’s complaints to human resources by “separating” the two for a brief period of time, it proceeded to place them together again, which led to the resumption of the supervisor’s alleged misconduct, the lawsuit claimed. This worker said that she was informed that she would be fired if she continued to complain and that “Defendants have since continued to retaliate against her.” That case settled in 2020.

    Additionally, Nobu was sued in 2012 by a former employee for wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The case settled the next year.

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