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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Ferndale's Imperial announces restructuring following sexual harassment allegations

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 2:48 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF WORKING CLASS OUTLAWS
  • Courtesy of Working Class Outlaws

Owners of popular Ferndale taco spot Imperial say they bought out former partner Jeff King following allegations of sexual harassment at the restaurant last month.

In a statement, Sharon and Perry LaVoisne of restaurant group Working Class Outlaws say that King has been relieved of all his responsibilities, and say that they hired an outside firm to manage its HR. The company also says it restructured its management and is implementing mandatory sexual harassment training.



"We are passionate about Imperial being a place where everyone feels welcome to work and dine," Perry LaVoisne say. "We don't tolerate harassment, abuse, or racism."

King resigned as WCO's daily operations manager following the allegations, many of them anonymous, which were collected in a Facebook post and shared more than 1,2000 times. Many of the allegations accused King of sexual harassment. A since-deleted response post from Imperial said the company was "blindsided" by the accusations.

Working Class Outlaws owns Imperial, Public House, and Antihero in Ferndale. In a statement, WCO says that Imperial is expected to reopen later this month, though Public House and Antihero remain closed.

You can read the full statement below:

After being closed most of July, Imperial—the California-inspired taco hotspot on Woodward—will soon be back in business in Ferndale, setting its sights on opening in August.

Full information about hours and opening date will be available at www.imperialferndale.com Working Class Outlaws owns and operates Imperial and the Imperial Taco Truck.

Upon learning of allegations of inappropriate conduct by the operations manager, he was relieved of all his responsibilities. Subsequently, Sharon and Perry LaVoisne acquired their former partner's shares making the LaVoisnes 100 percent owners of Imperial, Working Class Outlaws and all of its related companies.

“We are excited to announce our reopening and can’t wait to welcome back our customers to Imperial,” said Sharon LaVoisne who is now majority owner of Imperial, Working Class Outlaws and all of its related companies.

“We are passionate about Imperial being a place where everyone feels welcome to work and dine. We don’t tolerate harassment, abuse or racism,” said Perry.

Sharon added “Needless to say, both Perry and I were deeply upset about the allegations and have taken active steps to ensure our management policies and procedures are in line with our values."

“We have restructured our management team and implemented mandatory sensitivity and sexual harassment training,” said Sharon. “As part of our restructuring, we realize it is important to have a third-party human resources professional on board to manage our HR. We have retained the ongoing services of EverythingHR, an award-winning, woman-owned consultancy firm, to serve as an independent resource for both ownership and employees going forward.”

“Operating a restaurant in this challenging, ever-changing environment requires continuous training and ongoing education. From dealing with the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus to addressing staff needs, we are committed to improving our operations every step of the way” said Sharon. “We are eager to once again be the downtown Ferndale destination for all who love California-style street tacos.”

“We are dedicated to our guests, creating jobs for our community and providing a safe place for our employees while doing our part to keep Ferndale a vibrant entertainment district,” said Perry.

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