Waitress Holding DishesA waitress in California will receive $6,240 in awarded damages after filing sexual harassment claims against a Beverly Hills restaurant and an assistant manager employed by the business. The restaurant at the center of the lawsuit is Villa Blanca and it is owned by the reality TV star, Lisa Vanderpump. The favorable award was decided by a panel of jurors on June 12.

While the restaurant was found liable for damages, the jury panel did not find the accused assistant manager to be liable and he was ultimately exonerated. In addition, the jury ruled that the Villa Blanca restaurant had acted against the waitress with malice. This has allowed the waitress' attorneys to pursue further claims of punitive damages against the restaurant to be decided during a subsequent hearing.

Plaintiff's Attorneys Pleased with Outcome

Attorneys for the waitress expressed that they were pleased with the results of the action, which was originally filed in October 2012. Part of the allegations against the restaurant and its assistant manager included claims that the assistant manager grabbed the waitress' wrists, twisted them and caused her pain. The assistant manager was also accused of trying to kiss the woman several months before the wrist grabbing incident. The waitress ultimately resigned from her position at the restaurant in September 2012 in order to protect herself from the stress of further abuse.

Businesses Are Legally Required to Stop Sexual Harassment

The restaurant and bar industries are fraught with sexual harassment violations that usually never get reported. Many bartenders and servers must put up with toxic work environments, unwanted sexual advances and other forms of abuse daily on the job. Still, restaurants and restaurant managers are legally required to treat their employees with appropriate respect and provide a sexual harassment-free workplace. They are also required to put a stop to, and protect their employees from, sexual harassment as soon as they are notified that it is occurring. Restaurants, business owners and management staff who either commit sexual harassment and/or fail to put a stop to it can -- in many cases -- be held financially liable under the law by way of successfully navigated employment law cases.

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