Monday, September 25, 2023
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Waitress Sues ‘Real Housewives’ Star

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A waitress sued "Real Housewives" star Lisa Vanderpump and her restaurant for $5 million, claiming a restaurant manager sexually harassed and battered her.

Karina Bustillos sued the Villa Blanca Restaurant, Lisa Vanderpump, her husband Ken Todd, and her alleged harassers, Michael Govia, in Superior Court.

Vanderpump is a cast member of Bravo's TV show "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." She and her husband opened Villa Blanca in June 2009.

The complaint states: "(W)hile at work at Villa Blanca, Govia instructed plaintiff to close her eyes and then, a few seconds later, to open her eyes. When plaintiff opened her eyes, she was shocked to discover Govia's mouth open, with his tongue visible, very close to plaintiff's mouth, apparently in an attempt to kiss plaintiff. Plaintiff, disgusted by Govia's conduct, backed away from Govia to avoid him kissing her, and told Govia that his behavior was inappropriate."

Bustillos says she complained to the general manager, nonparty Andrew Morrison, but does not know if Morrison investigated or disciplined Govia. Govia then called her a "cunt" and a "bitch" for complaining, the complaint states.

About 4 months later, Bustillos says, Govia threw a $20 bill at her when she asked for change at the end of her shift so she could tip other employees.

"Plaintiff picked up the $20 bill and again requested the change from Govia so that plaintiff could check out. This time, Govia threw the $20 bill on the floor in front of the main entrance of the restaurant and instructed plaintiff to 'pick it up!' Plaintiff said 'no,' and walked into the kitchen to finish her paperwork and to count the $463 in cash that she was required to turn in to the restaurant at the time of her checkout," the complaint states.

It continues: "Govia followed plaintiff into the kitchen and again threw the $20 bill at plaintiff. The bill fell to the ground, and plaintiff was unable to locate it. Plaintiff told Govia that if he refused to give her the change, that she would take $20 out of the $463 in order to make it even. In response, Govia attempted to grab the money out of plaintiff's hands by grabbing plaintiff's wrists and aggressively twisting them. Govia pulled plaintiff towards his body, causing Govia's body to have offensive contact with plaintiff's body, including her breasts and groin area, and then pushed her away. Plaintiff yelled at Govia, 'Let go! What is wrong with you? I just wanted change. Why are you acting like this?'"

Govia then grabbed the $463 and threw it on the floor, Bustillos says.

"While plaintiff was collecting the money, Govia threatened plaintiff, yelling, 'Don't talk to me like that; check your schedule next time.' Plaintiff understood this to mean that he was threatening to either suspend plaintiff or to take shifts away from plaintiff."

Bustillos claims a co-worker told her that Govia "does this all the time to the girls."

Bustillos says she complained again to Morrison, who refused to fire Govia "because he had been with the restaurant for two years and the restaurant (presumably, its owners Todd and Vanderpump) were loyal to him. Mgr. Morrison further specified that the restaurant would give Govia a second chance because this was his first offense." (Parentheses in complaint.)

Bustillos claims Morrison refused to compensate her for the shifts she missed because she refused to work with Govia.

"Villa Blanca's refusal to schedule Govia on shifts on which plaintiff was not assigned and, instead, require plaintiff [to] accept less lucrative shifts to avoid Govia and his harassment, made clear Villa Blanca's refusal to take even the most minimal corrective action," Bustillos says in the complaint.

She says she was forced to resign because of the "intolerable working conditions caused by the harassment and discrimination to which plaintiff was subjected, the retaliation to which plaintiff was subjected to for complaining, and Villa Blanca's refusal to take any corrective action to investigate or end the harassment and discrimination."

Bustillos seeks $5 million in damages and punitive damages assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful termination.

She is represented by Lisa Maki.

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