A woman who worked at 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar on NW Wall Street for nearly five years has sued the co-owner claiming wrongful discharge, sexual harassment and battery.
Erin Hardy states in her lawsuit filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court on June 4 that Joe Kim, the restaurant’s executive chef and co-owner, regularly drank on the job, yelled at employees, used a taser on an employee and would throw plates in the kitchen. In addition, the suit alleges he made sexual advances to other employees and subjected Hardy to a hostile working environment. The last incident, according to the lawsuit, occurred on March 1 when Kim tried to kiss Hardy in a closed food closet.
Eleven days later, Hardy resigned from her job.
Neither she nor Kim would discuss details of the lawsuit with The Bulletin. The lawsuit does not state what kind of work Hardy did at the restaurant.
“I cannot comment on the specifics of the pending litigation,” Kim said. “We take these allegations seriously. We are currently conducting a review of these allegations and are responding through the legal process.”
The lawsuit maintains that 5 Fusion was a “hostile ‘boys club’ environment” because the kitchen “had little respect for women or non-kitchen employees,” and Kim and other kitchen staff coined a phrase, “Always be berating and belittling. This motto is regularly vocalized and said to (Hardy) and other employees.”
Kim was nominated three times in a row as a “Best Chef: Northwest“ semifinalist, a coup for a Central Oregon chef.
In 2016, Kim was asked to cook at the James Beard House in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood.
Hardy is seeking $100,000 in economic damages, $500,000 in noneconomic damages and a jury trial.
Hardy’s attorney, Alison Emerson, in Redmond, said that the legal team conducted an investigation and will present its facts at a jury trial.
“We’ve done our due diligence,” Emerson said. “Our investigation and the complaint speak for itself.”
In the complaint, Hardy alleges that after she resigned, Kim apologized for “any negative impact that I may have caused.”
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