Mega Resort Terranea Pays $2.15M to Workers for Fostering a Culture of Abuse in Labor Lawsuit


Former and present Terranea employees will split a portion of the settlement

Nearly 400 current and former Terranea employees are entitled to a $2.15 million settlement against the posh Palos Verdes resort. The Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that Terranea was in violation of wage theft, a slew labor laws, sexual harassment, and abuse.

Terranea’s culture of abuse isn’t news. The company settled another labor-related case in 2013 for $1.125 million. The 2017 lawsuit stated that Terranea management engaged in the following behaviors:

  • Falsified records to avoid paying meal break penalties
  • Workers missed rest breaks and meal periods
  • Failed to reimburse cooks for knives, graters, and other kitchen tools required for the job
  • Failed to pay hourly workers for time spent on the parking shuttle to and from the resort. This trip often added an hour or more to the commute
  • Workers were required to appear at work prior to their shifts to change into uniforms, but not compensated for their time
  • Retaliation against workers who spoke out about the abuse. Former Terranea cook Freddy Lovato was terminated after speaking to the press about working conditions

Sexual harassment was also a problem. In 2016, former dishwasher Sandra Pezqueda alleged that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by a supervisor. She was fired from her position after reporting the harassment. The high-profile nature of this case landed Pezqueada on the cover of Time Magazine with other #MeToo advocates like Taylor Swift. She received $250,000 in the settlement, but other women also came forward to report similar experiences at Terranea.

In the wake of #MeToo and the Terranea case, hospitality companies are being forced to look at within. Pezqueada’s harassment case pushed many companies to install ‘panic buttons’ to prevent sexual assault. They’ve even got extra pressure coming from labor unions, who are using guerrilla tactics by contacting future brides and grooms, tech executives, and companies looking to book an event at Terranea.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times reported that representing attorney will receive approximately $716,000 in legal fees, while plaintiffs will receive individual sums up to $7,500 each.

Source: LA Eater