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Gay Twins Wins Sexual Harassment Suit Against Their Gay Bosses

p12000681A 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
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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?”

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Mar 3, 2009
Tagged: , ,
  • 34 Comments
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      I guess it is the point, but out of the $2,000.00 how much did Attorney Sarah E. Hernandez take. Did I miss somewhere, or were they also awarded attorney fees?

      Mar 3, 2009 at 10:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • richardmirwin
      richardmirwin

      I’ve known the owners for twenty years and have no doubt that they were flirtatious with the twins; but, they’re flirtatious with EVERYONE. It’s part of their personalities and it’s part of what makes them successful restauranteurs. The twins would have been aware of this right from the get go and it’s hard to believe they suddenly felt ‘harassed’. Sounds like a nuisance case to me.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Peeka Boo
      Peeka Boo

      Why do I want to badly to see a picture of the gay twins? Am I kinky?

      Mar 3, 2009 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • thatguyfromboston
      thatguyfromboston

      Not to lessen the pain/suffering of the twins, but when I wear a naughty schoolgirl outfit, sexual harassment is exactly what I’m hoping to get.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 11:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blake
      blake

      RichardDirwin,

      No, the owners don’t have a right to stick their hands up someone’s clothing! That’s not being flirtatious, that’s being a creep. If your mother, sister, or female friend had someone accost her like that, don’t you think that she would be justified in calling the police? Instead, do you think that because someone is a man he doesn’t have the ability to control who can touch him?

      It’s ridiculous to expect employees to have to deal with a flirtatious boss if they don’t like the attention. That’s called a sexually charged environment, and it’s illegal.

      Frankly, if these young men were young women, I wonder if the award would not have been higher.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 11:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darth Paul
      Darth Paul

      @thatguyfromboston: I’m sayin! I was just thinking how hot that scene sounds.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Blake – I agree with your first sentence but after that you go too far. When it is the owner/employee relationship, it can take a different tone to do something like that, a boss sticking a hand up someone’s clothing. But where I feel you go too far, as R Irwin says, it is hard to believe the twins suddenly felt harrassed.

      As to the award being different if it were women, it probably would have because historically women have been opressed; men as a group are more lewd, demonstrative, visually excited etc.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom
      Tom

      For those with the “hard to believe the twins suddenly felt harrassed” comments I say; guess you folks never heard to the saying “the straw that broke the camels back”.

      I also whole heartedly agree if they were women the judgement would most likely have been much different.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ousslander
      Ousslander

      You dress up like a slutty school girl and you expect what? Get detention or a report card!

      Mar 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RoyalT
      RoyalT

      Jaroslaw-
      I agree with Blake, but at the same time it all depends since we don’t know the whole situation. I would agree with you if the twins had never voiced their discomfort to their bosses (and I kind of agree with the opinion that the twin was asking for it when he dressed up in the naughty outfit). However, I’d like to think they had voiced their discomfort previously, and in that case it is inappropriate on the bosses part, even if it is “their personality.” If you go to work somewhere, you should be able to expect a professional environment.

      I would say it’s fine if an employee was comfortable with it, but once they say that they don’t want that kind of attention anymore, then it needs to stop, just out of basic respect of their wishes.
      I know this all sounds contradictory, but that’s the thing, it all depends on the situation and we only know a part of it. So if anybody knows where more info can be found…?

      Mar 3, 2009 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Royal T- I agree with everything you said – however, every post I make would be 1 page long if I qualified everything each and every time, so I left out all that.

      No we don’t know what happened and I thought I was setting the tone by saying an employer/employee relationship is or can be different.

      We will probably never know the whole story, and it will not be obtainable because at this point both sides testified in court, each side not only made a statement but likewise responded to inquiries and/or statements of the other side.

      Thanks for a balanced take on this.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      This is ridiculous and reflects our over-litigious society. The owner was being playful.

      Nice going assholes: Now he’s going to be paranoid about allowing any friendly fun among employees.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete
      Pete

      @thatguyfromboston: Actually, because you desire it, it’s not harassment. It’s not semantics because confusing the two only blurs the line in reality.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 6:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gwyneth's sloppy goop
      gwyneth's sloppy goop

      @ peek a boo … i did too, and yes you are.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 7:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott
      scott

      @hardmannyc

      a hand up someone’s skirt is NOT playful fun. If you really think that. Why don’t you go up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and put your hand up her skirt. I’m sure there’ll be some ramifications you wouldn’t like. Like jail time.

      Actually, putting your hand on someone or even certain verbal expressions can be construed as harassment.

      And how do you know he was being playful? Were you there for those instances? Did you speak with the owner?

      Mar 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      ^^^ Oh, give me a break! You’re comparing two people dressed for HALLOWEEN in SCHOOL GIRL outfits to Hillary Fucking Clinton.

      Your prissy attitude is exactly why this country has turned into such a boring turd dump.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gurlene
      Gurlene

      With not one picture of either the twins or the halloween costume and a reward of only 1k apiece this sounds more like a publicity stunt than an actual lawsuit with merit.

      If these two queens, punks, faggots or whatever colorful metaphor you want to use were that cute they should show the world how irresistable they actually are.

      Somehow I doubt it.

      Mar 3, 2009 at 11:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mary dezler
      mary dezler

      These twins sound like they’re full of shit.

      They’re lucky to get any attention from Mike and Manuel.

      These little twin queens give gays a bad name.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 1:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RoyalT
      RoyalT

      @Jaroslaw – Likewise. And I totally understand about the 1 page long thing, that’s probably one of the reasons why I don’t post comments as often as I’d like because you don’t have much room to explain yourself.

      To everyone, I’m all for fun and games at work and I playfully flirt with co-workers all the time, but ONLY when I know they’re okay with it.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 2:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KB
      KB

      To all those here who are defending the restaurant owners, I hope some unattractive person who you have NO interest in grabs your crotch while you’re at work and then tells you to get over it because they’re just having fun.

      If that makes this country “boring,” then leave. I’ll take my right to not be touched by my employer in the workplace over that type of “excitement” any day.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 2:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • losfelizhottie
      losfelizhottie

      I know the owners and all i can say is it’s about time! They are both rather crude. I have witnessed and been harassed myself by one of them.
      I can say that this will not teach them any lesson. It will continue.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 2:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GENE
    • mb00
      mb00

      @KB: I agree with you KB. Just because everyone involved in this situation happen to be all gay men, doesn’t make it any better than if it happened with people of the opposite sex.

      @ losfelizhottie> I totally agree with you here as well. People like that never think they’ve done anything wrong.
      I would have awarded them more than just $1,000 each, that’s the only way these people learn is when you hit them in the wallet.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 5:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gurlene
      Gurlene

      @GENE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Rare is it that I make a comment as vicious as I did earlier that turns out to have hit the nail on the head.

      For those of you who have not clicked on the link you should and try not to slap your monitor to get at these two wanna-be peacocks who don’t come close to looking as pretty strutting their “stuff”.

      I hope they had sense enough to invest in a $300 camcorder and record themselves having sex with each other and pump their 15 minutes of fame while it last. These are clearly two losers who don’t (or shouldn’t) have any other choice.

      I’m sure those two girls hope an appeal isn’t file. However I hope one is.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 7:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      @GENE & Gurlene – Dead link?

      Mar 4, 2009 at 7:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gurlene
      Gurlene

      @mb00: On the surface your comments hit the nail on the head.

      However there is something about these two after seeing them that makes you wonder if they were asked to give a lap dance or more to get their jobs they did it.

      I just hope any business owner who would overlook a less attractive but more qualified employee/applicant to hire lazy ass, opportunistic twinks will learn from the mistake the owners here CLEARLY made. I would not trust these two to bring me a glass of water unless I saw then acutally get it from the faucet and pour it in the glass.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 7:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gurlene
      Gurlene

      @Sebbe: I just click on it and it is still coming up. Try it again.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 7:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      @Gurlene – It is working now, thanks. Before I got an abc message page not found. Thanks for the link.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 7:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      Ok the “lady” is the attorney, who is the other guy in the video on their side?

      Mar 4, 2009 at 7:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      After seeing the ABC video, now I get it: They’re hydrocephalic!

      Mar 4, 2009 at 8:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      @hardmannyc – LMFA

      Does anyone else get a mormon vibe from them?

      Mar 4, 2009 at 8:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gurlene
      Gurlene

      @Sebbe: With the Los Feliz area sitting right next to heavily mormon infested Glendale you might be right.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 9:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phoenix (The Angry Nelly One)
      Phoenix (The Angry Nelly One)

      “…the twin was asking for it when he dressed up in the naughty outfit…”

      Really? So the slut deserved it? Because he/she was wearing a short skirt? Because he/she wanted to look hot…but not for the creepy old guys?

      If these were women, would you be such dicks? Or would you say “That’s completely unfair! Those guys should be in prison! That’s sexual assault.”

      A couple of creepy old trolls hit on a captive audience (employees). They’re gay Dov Charneys, but because the victims are male you come down on the side of the creeps and call the victims attention whores. Your bias is showing.

      Mar 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • emma
      emma

      Queerty should be ashamed for posting this misleading press release from the twins’ attorney without verifying the accuracy of its contents with the court system.

      While the twins are touting this in the media and over the internet as a big “victory” for gay rights, the jury, in fact, decided that this case was “much to do about nothing”.

      Although the twins intechnically “won” 2 charges, they also lost 9 other charges and the jury awarded them a whooping $1,000 (yes, $1,000 total) while awarding Vermont Restaurant $900 in damages. So the twins netted a grand total of $100 for this big “victory” for gay rights – what a joke!

      And how can this be a “victory for gay rights” when both the plantiffs and the defendants are gay men?

      This was about money – plain and simple! If it wasn’t about the money, like the twins now say, why did they sue for over a $1 million dollars? Of course it was about money!!

      The twins did what is seemingly becoming the American way – they found a lawyer to take their case for free to sue a small business owner with the goal of extracting a monetary settlement from the accused business. Because most small businesses can’t afford a protracted legal battle, they often just settle rather than running up a lot of legal bills fighting false charges. But the owners of Vermont Restaurant, highly respected members of our community, respected decided to fight back against the slander of their name and character!

      Of course, the twins conveniently fail to mention in their press releases they’ve also been ordered to pay $50,000+ in court costs (for wasting our taxpayer dollars on this frivolous lawsuit) as well an additional $6,000+ in court sanctions for failing to produce credible evidence to substantiate their case! So it was a “big victory” indeed – for us, the taxpayers, if the twins actually pay the court costs as ordered!

      And next time Queerty, please do basic Journalism 101 and check facts before posting false rubbish from a press release! At least other legitimate news sources put quotation marks around the word “win” (see headline below) since $100 in damages is hardly a win. In fact, this is loss for the gay community since it is yet another example of us gays being presented in the mainstream media as over-sexed perverts who are a threat to children and the traditional family.

      Gay Twins “Win” Sexual Harassment Suit Against Their Gay Bosses

      Mar 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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