21 Aug 2014
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Former Belmont Shore Bartender: I Was Subjected to 'Pervasive' Sexual Harassment

Lana Baker and Robin Smith have sued Acapulco Inn and an ex-supervisor.

Former Belmont Shore Bartender: I Was Subjected to 'Pervasive' Sexual Harassment

By BILL HETHERMAN
City News Service

A woman testified today that she was subjected to pervasive harassment by a supervisor while working for less than a year as a bartender at a popular Belmont Shore bar.

Lana Baker, wife of mixed martial arts fighter Brett Cooper, and fellow ex- Acapulco Inn bartender Robin Smith sued the establishment and their former supervisor in December 2011 for sexual harassment.

As Smith did in her testimony Monday, Baker told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury that the supervisor touched her without her permission and retaliated against her when she complained.

Baker said she began working at the Acapulco Inn in the spring of 2010 and quit in frustration in January 2011. She said she was once cornered in a restroom at the bar by two other female employees who said they were going to take her job. She said she believes the supervisor was responsible for the incident and that it caused her distress.

"I was very distraught, just bawling," Baker said. "All of his harassment had come to a point I remember crying uncontrollably."

Baker said the supervisor laughed at her for being overwrought.

"He got enjoyment out of seeing me so upset," Baker said.

Baker said she complained about the supervisor to another manager, but received a cool reaction.

"He told me not to worry about it," Baker said.

Baker said the supervisor's comments about her weight and other inappropriate remarks, combined with his alleged ongoing harassment, all combined to affect her disposition.

"I was withdrawn, depressed," she said. "It got to the point I was self-conscious of myself. I didn't want to go out, I just wanted so stay home."

Baker said she and Cooper got engaged in October 2010, but that the problems at work had an impact on her relationship with her fiance.

"I didn't want to be alone around men," she said.

Baker read from her resignation letter penned in January 2011.

"This work environment is worse than intolerable," Baker wrote.

On Monday, Smith testified the supervisor took her and Baker to a sporting goods store and told them to pick out sports shirts to wear on duty. He picked out skimpy shorts that he wanted both women to don at the bar, she said.

Smith said she wore the shorts once and refused to do so after that.

"I thought they were inappropriate because they were so short," Smith said.

--City News Service


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