A woman hailed by members of the MeToo movement has settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against the staffing agency that placed her in a dishwashing position at the Terranea Resort for $250,000, her attorney announced Tuesday.
Sandra Pezqueda — who was included in Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” issue in December that honored “Silence Breakers” who spoke out against sexual harassment — filed suit against Excellent Maintenance Service Inc. and the Rancho Palos Verdes luxury resort last October, alleging she was fired after complaining to management about a supervisor who was sexually harassing her.
Terranea Resort confirmed on Wednesday that it has been cleared of all ties to the lawsuit, its President Ms. Terri A. Haack said.
“We said at the time that this lawsuit — and these allegations — have nothing to do with Terranea and the settlement between Excel and Ms. Pezqueda validates that we were right,” Haack said.
“We are a woman-led business with a zero-tolerance policy toward harassment. We have created thousands of career opportunities for thousands of men and women from wonderfully diverse backgrounds, and we are very proud of our employees and their accomplishments.”
Excellent Maintenance Service also denied any wrongdoing.
According to her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, Pezqueda was pursued for months by a male supervisor who changed her schedule and cut her hours after she rebuffed his advances. After coming forward and reporting the issue, Pezqueda alleged that the company targeted her and ultimately fired her.
The agreement does not contain a non-disclosure agreement that would limit her ability to speak about her experiences at Terranea, according to her lawyer, meaning she can continue to advocate for women’s rights in the workplace and share her story.
“I know firsthand how hard it can be to speak out about sexual harassment,” Pezqueda said in a statement released by Pasadena-based attorney Lauren Teukolsky.
“After I was fired, I felt depressed and angry,” Pezqueda said. “I don’t want other women to go through what I did.”
Teukolsky said representing Pezqueda was a privilege.
“She is a hero,” Teukolsky said. “After she got fired for complaining about sexual harassment, she could have just walked away. Instead, she stood up. She is part of the MeToo revolution and she inspires me every day to fight harder for women in the workplace.”