UnderCover Waitress: Woman v. Woman

Friday, June 29, 2012

Woman v. Woman

I know that many of you are familiar with the report on AOL: California Waitress Sues Over Skimpy Uniform Requirement.  In short, the details are that Courtney Scaramella was an employee in good standing at O'Hara's bar in Los Angeles. The owner, Jack Bendetti, changed the policy to require female employees to wear extremely short, plaid mini-skirts to expose their bodies and lure male patrons. These skirts were held together only by velcro; therefore, they could easily fall off or worse, be torn off.

According to the report on AOL:

"In her complaint, Scaramella said that she feared drunk customers could easily tear off the skirt, which was held in place by Velcro. The court document also note instances in which Bendetti offended the waitress, the Daily Bruin reports.

Those instances include one in which Bendetti allegedly required bartenders rate female customers on a 10-point scale and then give a free shot of alcohol to the women given a score of six or higher."

Sounds like a hostile work environment to me.

Scaramella claims that none of the female employees wanted to wear the new "uniform," but as jobs are extremely hard to come by nobody wanted to quit before obtaining a new job.

After a few days, Scaramella refused to wear the skirt. For this, she was terminated. Scaramella is only 23 years old, and has been and is doing an excellent job of standing up for herself. I know women 50 years of age and older who are unable to do this. I am proud of Ms. Scaramella, and I hope she is reading this.

I was dismayed to read a entry on CafeMom that opined that the bar waitress should not sue for sexual harassment and just go get another job. We all know that employers are begging the unemployed to come work for them, so that would have been extremely easy.

Worse of all, the opinion piece was written (supposedly) by a woman. Shame on you, Maressa Brown. Yes, having a vagina does mean you should know better. Unless, of course, you are a prostitute and used to using your vagina to make money. (Anybody think Congress will sanction me?) ;-)

Brown rolls her eyes at the idea that a young woman would complain about a predatory employer using her body as bait to lure in more predators who will spend money for the chance at a peep show.

While Brown is awake enough to admit that the new policies were sleazy, she does not feel that the situation was bad enough to warrant a lawsuit. These are the insults, indignities, and damages that Brown thinks to do not warrant a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit:

* Placing fans around the establishment in an attempt to blow the skirts up "Marilyn Monroe" style.

* When Scaramella complained that it was difficult (to say the least) to bend over in the skirt, the boss's reaction was, "Oh, yeah!!!" (If you have never worked in a restaurant, we have valid and necessary reason to bend over all the time.)

* As stated above, the extremely short skirts were held together by nothing but velcro. That sounds like an invitation for inappropriate horseplay.

* As stated above, male bartenders were instructed to rate the sexual attractiveness of female patrons, and reward those they approved of with free shots.

Treating women like a set of body parts for the enjoyment of men is sexual harassment. Both employees and patrons were treated this way under the new policies.

Brown is quick to point out that Bendetti claims Scaramella quit and was not fired. I'm not surprised he would claim this in his defense. When a restaurant does not want you anymore, they take you off the schedule. It is the equivalent of firing, and most likely what happened. 

Apathy is necessary for predators and evil-doers to succeed. When good people stand up for themselves and for each other, we help put a stop to victimization. Bendetti victimized Scaramella. Scaramella is courageous for standing up for herself and being in the public eye. I would expect middle aged, male slobs to have bad words for her, but Brown? Shame on you, Brown. Shame.


  1. I have the utmost respect for servers. I don't know how any of you deal with the crap you get thrown at you on a daily basis. My son is a server, has been for the past seven years, and he's far more patient than I could ever be. He gets on well with the managers but has a crew chief who really elevates "bitch" to an art form. This woman openly brags about what a good liar she is--and for once she's being honest.

    I lasted two weeks as a truck stop waitress when I was in college. I backhanded a smartass waitress into the grill, walked out and never went back.

    1. I heard someone include the job of waitress in the "care giving" category, along with nurses, therapists, teachers... people who tend to and care for the needs of others. Your son sounds like an excellent care giver. And you are right -- it is mind boggling what many servers put up with on a daily basis to pay the bills. Love the truck stop story, thanks for sharing! :-D

  2. It surely sounds like a hostile work environment to me.

    I have a great deal of respect for servers. Their bosses, on the other hand, can be complete dolts.

  3. urgggg, don't get me on the subject of "hostile work environment". Can relate to the poster about working in a Truck Stop. Don't get me wrong some of the them are nice facilities. I worked at the Pocono Travel Center, AKA truckstop. ( 1995). We had a really terrible snowstorm and I was the only waitress who mananged to show up, the only one. The manager was so rude and nasty to me, because the rest of the crew didn't show up. Manger refused to help clean restaurant.

    I will never forget that day as long as I live. He, yes he was a male screaming at a small woman, to do everything in the restaurant, I finally had enough and started screaming right back at him. He got so scared of me he tried to walk away from a screaming match he started with me, I was not finished. He ran away! I stood up for myself and I was never fired, in fact had more respect from the employees who were snowed in that day and couldn't make it.

    So damage control got out, and the bottom line was, first I was asked this question from the "Chef" " Do you still have a machete with Joe's name on it? My answer: "Of course not" it was just a bad day!

    The moral:... When you stick up, stand your ground, for what you believe in your heart to be true, do it, no matter what. Not in the long run but in the short run, you will gain respect and knowledge, always stick up for yourself, because nobody is going to do it for you, and yes it might cost you, but you become a better person when those things are learned!

    1. The manager should have been thanking you for showing up, not making things harder for the one waitress who was able to work! And good for you for sticking up for yourself.

      I am 5'1", and I have always looked younger than I am (and as if butter would melt in my mouth, which it wouldn't...) A male bartender who was willing to be rude and disparaging to me in front of customers literally ran away from me when I quietly confronted him in private. It was funny -- he called out "I'm not afraid of you!" as he scurried out the door.


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