A pair of gay twins working as waiters at the Los Feliz-neighborhood Vermont Restaurant in Los Angeles won their lawsuit yesterday against the owners, who they claimed had created a hostile work environment. Jed and Wyatt Lorenzen said that their bosses, Manuel Mesta and Michael Gelzhiser, would make lewd remarks about both brothers and that when Jed showed up for a Halloween party at the restaurant in a “naughty school girl” uniform, Gelzhiser ran his hand up his skirt and said that the outfit made him “look like a schoolgirl who was deserving and asking to be raped.” The brothers won $1,000 each and in it’s own way, the gay-on-gay lawsuit is a small litigious step forward for equality.
The Daily Breeze goes into some detail about the difficulty dudes have when it comes to sexual harassment cases:
“Sarah E. Hernandez, the attorney for the brothers, said she considers the verdict a victory for her clients because they were more interested in principle than money.
“We won because my clients proved they were sexually harassed despite Proposition 8 (which banned gay marriages) and the fact that both are males,” Hernandez said. “It’s harder to prove sexual harassment with men because, unlike women, they don’t break down and cry on the stand.”
Jed Lorenzen said he was “thoroughly happy with the verdict. The money was not as important.”
Wyatt Lorenzen said he and his brother believed it was vital to stand up for themselves and pursue the case against Mesta and Gelzhiser, which took 16 months to resolve
from the time the suit was filed.
Jonathon Kaplan, the attorney for the restaurant and its owners, said he had mixed feelings about the verdict.
“I would have preferred that it would have been a complete defense verdict,” he said. “But I think the fact the jury only awarded $1,000 to each plaintiff speaks volumes about their case.”
During their testimony, Mesta and Gelzhiser denied any wrongdoing. After the verdict was read, Gelzhiser — in reference to the nine-day trial and the size of the damage award — asked, “All of this for that?”