Hmmm… this is curious! Lisa Vanderpump and her restaurant Villa Blanca were sued by former server Karina Bustillos (who is also an aspiring actress) after she alleged that manger Michael Govia sexually harassed her, grabbed her arm, and then created a hostile work environment.
Additionally Bustillos claimed that Ken Todd did not take her complaints seriously and she was forced to quit as a result. The case is odd to say the least. According to testimony of another former manager, Bustillos had been fired before, refused to work with another male employee for an unspecified reason, and was demanding her schedule be changed so she would only work with general manager Andrew Morrison. Karina was given two days off, with pay, but then it was decided she would not be compensated for the lost wages totaling about $300. At that point she both quit and filed suit.
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Previous reports reveal Bustillos wanted millions from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, then she would settle for $40,000 if Lisa would admit that Villa Blanca was unsanitary – it went to trial. Yesterday a jury found Michael Govia not guilty due to insufficient evidence, but concluded that Villa Blanca acted "with malice" towards Bustillos for not attempting to remedy the situation. As a result, today, they awarded the former server $100,000 in punitive damages!
“We are in absolute shock at the amount of punitive damages that were awarded. Especially in light of nominal compensatory damages awarded and the lack of sufficient evidence," Lisa's attorney told TMZ. "We plan to immediately file an appeal and are confident that we will prevail.”
Apparently the jury was interested in teaching Villa Blanca a lesson about dealing with difficult workplace issues and that is the reasoning behind their award.
"Hard to comprehend how my manager is totally innocent but vb gets damages against them for something that didn't happen. Losing faith," Lisa tweeted after the verdict. I have to agree – it is pretty odd and puzzling.
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK – WHY WAS BUSTILLOS AWARDED DAMAGES IF THE MANAGER WAS FOUND INNOCENT?