A popular bar in Westwood is facing a civil lawsuit after a former employee filed a complaint against the establishment last month.
Courtney Scaramella, is suing O’Hara’s for sexual harassment, wrongful termination and unpaid wages, according to a complaint filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on May 24.
Scaramella is suing co-owner Jack Bendetti and general manager Ronald “Ram” McDonnel in addition to the bar, and is asking for money to compensate her for the wages she lost and the stress she incurred on the job, according to her complaint.
Officials at O’Hara’s, located on the corner of Weyburn and Gayley avenues, declined to comment on the case. Their lawyers could not be reached as of press deadline.
Scaramella had worked at the bar since 2007 before she was fired earlier this year.
She alleges that Bendetti objectified the women on staff by forcing them to wear revealing uniforms as a way to increase the bar’s profits. Scaramella said in the complaint she feared that drunk customers could easily tear off the short, plaid skirt ““ secured only by Velcro ““ that female workers were required to wear as part of the bar’s dress code. When Scaramella demonstrated how difficult it was to bend over in the short skirt, McDonnel allegedly said “Oh yeah!” in a sexually suggestive manner, the suit states.
The complaint includes other instances where Bendetti offended Scaramella.
In one such instance, Bendetti allegedly required bartenders to rate the attractiveness of female customers on a scale of one to 10 and then give women who were rated six or higher a free shot of alcohol.
In January, Scaramella handed in a formal, written complaint to her manager and Bendetti outlining her frustration over the dress code. Immediately after, the requirement to wear skirts was removed.
Scaramella’s hours were drastically reduced and she was ultimately fired three days later, which she alleges was a direct result of her complaint to the bar’s managers.
Scaramella’s lawyer, Toni Jaramilla, said the bar’s representatives have several weeks before they must officially respond to the complaint. She said she expects they will deny Scaramella’s claims.
“This will be a hotly contested litigation,” Jaramilla said.
The case will move forward after the bar files its official response to Scaramella’s allegations.
Compiled by Erin Donnelly, Bruin senior staff.