Best Ohio Sexual Harassment Attorney Answer: What can I do if my boss is acting in a physically aggressive and sexual manner? Do I have a claim for a sexually hostile work environment? Can I still sue if I was forced to quit due to sexual harassment?
Many teens and adults in 1990’s are familiar with the following quote used to open the longest running reality series on Television: “This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a house…work together and have their lives taped…to find out what happens…when people stop being polite…and start getting real…The Real World.” The show aired originally in 1992, and much to the chagrin of critics and parents alike, MTV’s, “The Real World” became a sensation. The popularity of the show, especially with adolescent teen viewers led to the development of several spin-offs, and is perhaps attributed with kicking off the birth of reality TV in the U.S. Subsequent shows on network TV, like Survivor and Big Brother have seemed to solidify the genre.
In 2009, Bravo debuted a series that seemed to capitalize on both the popularity of reality TV, and another hit scripted sitcom, “Desperate Housewives.” The show is titled, “The Real Housewives of Orange County“ and follows the lives of wealthy socialite middle aged women. The success of the series also resulted in spin-offs, which leads us to the topic of conversation today: Lisa Vanderpump and Legal Fees.
Lisa Vanderpump is one of the women featured on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She and her husband are well known for being club owners and restaurateurs in the Los Angeles area. Some of her restaurants are featured on the show (and yet another spin off, “Vanderpump Rules“) including SUR and Villa Blanca. Although Vanderpump is most widely known for her role on these series, her role as a business owner has recently gotten her into some hot water.
Karina Bustillos was a server who was employed at Vanderpump’s well known restaurant, Villa Blanca. Bustillos worked at the restaurant for 14 months and alleged that she suffered sexual harassment at the hands of her assistant manager. Bustillos filed suit and claimed that the assistant manager tried to kiss her in April 2012. Bustillos alleged that she rejected the kiss, and complained about the assistant manager’s behavior. After her complaints, Bustillos claimed that the assistant manager called her “c*nt” and “bitch.” According to Bustillos, four months later, the same manager grabbed a hold of and painfully twisted her wrists while pulling her body close enough to make physical contact with his, all because she requested change for a $20.00 bill. Despite the fact that Villa Blanca had policies in place to prohibit the assistant manager’s conduct, when Bustillos complained, the restaurant and owners failed to take action. Eventually, Bustillos was forced to quit because she could no longer endure the stress and mistreatment.
Bustillos’ case did not settle, and ended up making it to a jury. The jury found in the server’s favor and awarded Bustillos $6,250 in compensatory damages, and $100,000 in punitive damages. The award may have seemed like only a small loss for the wealthy owners, but the real kicker is that just this past month, the judge in Bustillos’ case awarded Bustillos’ attorneys $1.49 million dollars in attorney’s fees. The judge also ruled that Vanderpump and her spouse are liable for the entire award because they are both owners of the restaurant.
Although Vanderpump is famous in part because of her wealth and can likely afford to pay out over one and a half million for the award, other smaller employers may not be so fortunate. In an ironic twist, Vanderpump is credited with making a witty comment during the taping of her show, “Vanderpump Rules” which follows the lives of some of her employees at her restaurant/club, SUR. Vanderpump told her employee, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.” Although comedian George Carlin is the original source of that quote, it seems that if Vanderpump had followed her own rules, she would be $1.5 million richer.
Although Bustillos filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, the scenario does not differ much for employers and employees in Ohio. In fact, in previous blogs, we’ve analyzed many cases where employees receive substantial awards after losing a job due to sexual harassment or reporting sexual harassment. In those cases, the plaintiffs allege that their employer treated them differently or less favorably due to their gender or the fact that they complained about harassment. And specifically for employees in Ohio, state and federal laws have been enacted to protect workers from this type of behavior, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as Ohio R.C. § 4112.02.
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At the Spitz law firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a form of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
The materials available at the top of this page and at this gender discrimination, wrongful termination, and sex harassment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “what should I do …”, “I’m being sexually harassed …” “my supervisor grabbed my…”, “my boss is touching…,” “I’ve been wrongfully terminated,” or “how do I …”, your best course is to contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this employment law website are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of the Spitz law firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.