A former employee of a downtown private social club is suing his employer, alleging he was harassed by a female supervisor who demanded sexual favors in exchange for job security.
Ulises Batres Zelaya’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also alleges wrongful termination, hostile work environment, negligent hiring and intentional infliction of emotional distress by the Jonathan Club and hix ex- boss, Luz Sanchez, who he alleges subjected him to “unwanted sexual advances, improper derogatory jokes and comments.”
A representative of the Jonathan Club, located on Figueroa Street and founded in 1895, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the suit, which was filed Monday seeks unspecified damages.
Zelaya says he was hired at the club in October 1996 as a steward assistant and was later promoted to steward. He received positive reviews and was praised for his work by fellow employees and management, according to his complaint.
Sanchez routinely told Zelaya not to associate with other women who worked at the club, and he was given extra assignments without pay if he did so, the suit alleges. One of the co-workers he was instructed to stay away from killed herself in September 2016, causing the plaintiff “humiliation” and “pain,” the suit states.
On one occasion in Sanchez’s office, she undressed in front of him and asked him why he did not have sex with her, the suit alleges. Zelaya “took several steps back,” prompting Sanchez to tell him to “not be afraid,” according to his court papers.
Sanchez once broke several plates on purpose and blamed the damage on Zelaya “in order to leverage her authority and force Zelaya to have sexual relations with her,” the suit alleges.
Sanchez and other club employees repeatedly told Zelaya that he needed to be “more of a man” as a jab at him for not providing sexual favors to his boss, the suit alleges.
A fellow employee who told Zelaya that she saw Sanchez scratch the plaintiff’s car paint with a key was later fired, the complaint alleges.
Zelaya claims he complained about his treatment to human resources personnel, but was told there was nothing they could do. He learned that management expected club employees to “be submissive to their supervisors’ requests for sexual favors,” the suit alleges.
Instead of resolving Zelaya’s mistreatment, the club gave him additional assignments that he believes were in retaliation for refusing to have sex with his boss in exchange for job security, then fired him three days after Christmas 2016 due to his complaints about his harassment and the hostile work environment, the suit alleges.
–City News Service
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