Famous Chef Thomas Keller’s Restaurant Group Found Not Guilty of Pregnancy Discrimination

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Chef Thomas Keller poses for a portrait at Starwood Preferred Guest's Gourmet Experience of a Lifetime with Chef Thomas Keller at Per Se for Luck SPG Members, Courtesy Of SPG Moments on May 3, 2014, in New York City. (Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest)

Chef Thomas Keller poses for a portrait at Starwood Preferred Guest’s Gourmet Experience of a Lifetime with Chef Thomas Keller at Per Se for Luck SPG Members, Courtesy Of SPG Moments on May 3, 2014, in New York City. (Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest)

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A jury has found the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group not guilty of pregnancy discrimination.

Wednesday’s verdict exonerates the famous chef and his acclaimed restaurants — Per Se in New York and the French Laundry in California — of wrongdoing alleged by former employee Vanessa Scott-Allen.

Scott-Allen worked at Per Se for five years, rising to the highest server position of captain, before requesting a transfer to the Napa Valley restaurant. She claimed she was ultimately let go after telling her bosses she was pregnant. She was seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The French Laundry said in a statement it was pleased with the jury’s decision and “disappointed to see lawyers seeking an exorbitant sum for erroneous claims.”

Scott-Allen’s lawyers say they plan to appeal.

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