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Lettuce Entertain You settles whistleblower lawsuit

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has settled a lawsuit filed by a former worker who accused the restaurant group of harassing and ultimately firing her for refusing to engage in activities she believed were illegal and for reporting them to her supervisors, a lawyer in the case said Monday.

The case, filed in June in Cook County Circuit Court, has been "settled to the satisfaction of both parties," said Jonathan Lubin, the lawyer for Cristina Griffith.

Lubin declined to comment on terms of the settlement. Lettuce Entertain You confirmed the settlement in a statement but also declined to comment on the terms.

The Chicago-based owner of M Burger, Wow Bao and dozens of other eateries was accused of violating the state's Whistleblower Act.

Griffith, an office manager at Italian restaurant Saranello's in Wheeling from January 2014 until Oct. 11, 2016, alleged that harassment began in April 2016. For example, according to the lawsuit, a chef asked her to write a character reference for him bearing the signature of a top company executive for use in a court proceeding. She believed she was being asked to make false statements to the court, her suit said.

When she refused to participate in those and other activities, the supervisor began yelling at her and harassing her, the lawsuit alleged.

Circuit Judge Diane Shelley signed an order July 27 dismissing the lawsuit, but it could have been reinstated if the parties hadn't reached a settlement before Saturday.

byerak@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @beckyyerak

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