When an employee is sexually harassed by a coworker or supervisor at work, the employee has every right to expect that his or her boss will actively investigate the incident and take adequate measures to ensure similar incidents do not happen again. After all, Los Angeles employers are legally obligated to address and resolve sexual harassment complaints in the workplace so that employees can work in safe environments.
Ignoring a sexual harassment complaint or other complaint about violence and bullying in the workplace is very dangerous for employees and employers, as one recent lawsuit points out. Employees could be harmed physically and emotionally when employers do nothing to protect their rights and safety. But if this does happen, employers could be held liable for the damages.
Earlier this month, a waitress filed a lawsuit against Villa Blanca Restaurant in Beverly Hills, which is owned by Lisa Vanderpump from "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." The restaurant worker is seeking $5 million in compensation for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. The waitress claims that she was forced to work in an "intolerable" environment after she was sexually harassed by a manager because the restaurant had failed to properly discipline the manager for his inappropriate actions.
The waitress claims that she was forced to quit her job because her work environment became unbearable. She claims that she was sexually harassed by a supervisor, and after filing a complaint about the incident, she was subjected to more harassment and retaliation.
For example, after first filing a complaint about a supervisor who tried to kiss her, the woman says that she was called offensive names by the supervisor when he learned she had told another manager about the inappropriate incident. Several months later, the same supervisor grabbed the woman's wrists in an aggressive manner.
After filing another complaint, the restaurant said that it was going to give the manager a "second chance." Because the restaurant did not properly discipline the manager, the waitress said that she was forced to work less hours and make less money in order to avoid having to work with the aggressive manager. Eventually, she decided to leave the restaurant.
The waitress hopes to recover compensation for damages, but she also hopes that the restaurant and manager will finally be held accountable for their unlawful and harmful actions. According to TMZ, Vanderpump claims that her restaurant did nothing wrong and that the waitress was just a "disgruntled employee."
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Waitress sues 'Real Housewives' star," Rebekah Kearn, Oct. 17, 2012
- Our firm handles similar workplace complaints like the one mentioned in today's blog post. Sexual harassment is illegal in the workplace. To learn more about your rights as an employee, please visit our Los Angeles sexual harassment and hostile work environment attorneys page.