Boston Restaurateur Accused of Running Toxic Workplace

Barbara Lynch is accused of verbal abuse, unwanted touching, and more
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2023 2:30 AM CDT
Boston Restaurateur Accused of Running Toxic Workplace
Chef Barbara Lynch poses for a photo Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 in Miami Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

In recent days, allegations of a toxic workplace culture, and more, have been lobbed against a well-known Boston restaurateur in separate investigations in the New York Times and the Boston Globe (both are behind paywalls). Barbara Lynch, who has been an acclaimed chef in the city for 25 years, is accused of verbal harassment as well as inappropriate sexual propositions and unwanted groping. Because of how well-connected she is—one former line cook at one of her restaurants says, "The Lynches are to Southie what the Kennedys are to New England"—as well as the fact that she's the majority owner of her restaurants and must only answer to investors, former employees who spoke to the publications say the 59-year-old has been "protected" from the consequences of actions they say also include outbursts, sudden firings, and problematic drinking.

In a lengthy statement, Lynch denies the allegations, which she calls "fantastical" and "scurrilous," though she admits she "can be a hard charging boss" and is "far from being above reproach. I make personnel decisions that may rankle those who don’t measure up or don’t want to commit to true teamwork and service; perhaps some I should have removed sooner." She also acknowledges she's "a creature of the alcohol-steeped hospitality and restaurant industry and I am committed to taking responsibility and working on myself." Boston Magazine has Lynch's statement in full. (More Boston stories.)

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