ANN ARBOR – Update: Sava’s reopened on Oct. 29 with limited hours and staff.
Late Monday afternoon, a former server at popular downtown eatery Sava’s published a post on Facebook alleging she was sexually assaulted by the restaurant’s kitchen manager and a cook two months ago.
According to Ghia Ashlynn Parow's account, once she reported the incident to human resources, she was encouraged to take leave and eventually decided to quit as the company launched an internal investigation. She said her managers were "very vague about" the investigation, and that it ultimately did not substantiate her account. "Something about a female business owner asking her female employee whether or not the assault was a joke, really rubbed me the wrong way," she wrote in the post.
Upon her departure, Parow said she was given a $500 paid time off check and signed a two-page "logistics" document. She was also given the option to work at another one of SavCo Hospitality's restaurants, which include Aventura, Wilma's and the soon-to-be Dixboro House, but said she was ultimately denied because someone at that sister restaurant said, "It could happen again."
Here's the original post:
Parow's original post has been shared more than 400 times, with messages of support and calls for a boycott of SavCo's businesses.
For her part, owner Sava Lelcaj published a message on Sava's Facebook page addressing the situation, which was later taken down.
In the original post signed by Lelcaj, she wrote, "We are deeply saddened and hurt to be in a situation where we have to defend ourselves and we are going to come at this with love, but we will also not tolerate defamatory statements and misrepresentations about our organization and dedicated employees to go unaddressed."
When we reached out to SavCo for comment, here's what it sent in response:
"There was an allegation made about an issue of misconduct in one of our restaurants. The situation in question was thoroughly investigated over several weeks, including interviews with all parties involved as well as witnesses and management at the location.
"The individual who brought forth the claim resigned from their position prior to the completion of the investigation and was fully informed throughout the process even after their employment ended. We took the situation very seriously, and we are confident we handled this matter appropriately, given a diligent investigation and many objective individuals all reaching the same conclusion that the allegations were without merit.
"We have been extremely transparent and communicative throughout the process. We were contacted by an attorney representing the individual a couple of months ago and complied with all of their requests for information, including providing the entire investigation report.
"We have a written no harassment policy in our company handbook that we strictly adhere to. We thoroughly investigate all allegations made and take remedial action where appropriate. We do not tolerate any type of harassment, and we are dedicated to creating and maintaining a safe work environment for our employees. We are an employee-focused organization and our employees’ well being is of the utmost importance to us.
"At this point, we will continue to do what is most important to us which is to take care of our staff and our guests. We will not further engage with the grossly malicious comments and extremely false misrepresentations that are being said about us."
Parow did not respond when contacted for comment.
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