A Christmas party at a Taco Bell in San Pedro descended into an alcohol-fueled night of debauchery in 2022, with one employee engaged in sex with his wife in front of others while his wife was seen kissing the restaurant supervisor and another woman, alleges a lawsuit filed by a former cashier.
Alana Bechiom, who worked for Taco Bell less than a year, said in the lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court that she endured threats and vandalism from co-workers for reporting what happened and was so overcome with stress and anxiety that she resigned days later.
Bechiom, who is seeking unspecified damages, is suing Taco Bell Corp.; Alvarado Restaurant Group, a Colorado company that owns the San Pedro restaurant franchise; and former supervisor Lidia Ruiz.
Officials with Taco Bell and Alvarado Restaurant Group did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment. Attorneys for Bechiom could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit alleges Ruiz organized the Christmas party on Dec. 18, 2022, at the Taco Bell at 1031 South Gaffey St. in San Pedro.
Employees were encouraged to bring food to the potluck-style buffet where alcohol would be served, the suit states. Bechiom brought guacamole and attended with her sister and her sister’s significant other.
The suit alleges that when Bechiom arrived at the restaurant, she noticed that Ruiz had covered the windows with wrapping paper and had also covered security cameras inside the lobby.
During the party, several Taco Bell employees were allegedly over-served alcohol by Ruiz. Around midnight, Bechiom, who had been socializing outside the restaurant for a short while, walked back inside and witnessed a co-worker having sex with his wife in front of everyone at the party, according to the suit.
Bechiom alleges she was mortified after seeing the man’s wife, who was bent over, kissing Ruiz and another female co-worker simultaneously. “Plaintiff was shocked, disgusted, and outraged by what she saw and ran outside,” the lawsuit states.
The employee who was engaged in sex with his wife walked outside shortly thereafter, which led Bechiom to believe it was safe to go back inside the restaurant to retrieve her guacamole bowl, according to the suit.
However, when she reentered the restaurant she allegedly saw Ruiz and the other female co-worker who had been involved in the debauchery vomiting into the guacamole bowl and a trash can.
“Plaintiff complained to defendant Ruiz about what she had witnessed that evening and the fact one of them was throwing up in her guacamole bowl,” says the suit. The other female co-worker allegedly wanted to fight Bechiom, who was able to deescalate the situation.
On Dec. 20 and 21, Bechiom reported the incident to Taco Bell’s Human Resources Department and Alvarado Restaurant Group, which terminated Ruiz and the two employees involved in the sexual encounter, according to the suit.
On the night of Dec. 22, someone associated with the defendants smashed out the back left window of Bechiom’s car parked at her residence in apparent retaliation for reporting the incident, says the suit.
The lawsuit also states Bechiom began receiving threatening texts from co-workers, including one that read, “baby girl I wanna break your face. I don’t give a f— about your car.”Another co-worker also repeatedly sent her texts calling her “a hoe,” “a slut,” “fatt ASF,” and a “snitch n***a”.
Bechiom forwarded a complaint she filed with the Los Angeles Police Department to Taco Bell and Alvarado Restaurant Group. “Defendants Taco Bell and ARG did nothing about these threats and instead told plaintiff that they were transferring her to a new location rather than disciplining the employees who threatened her,” the suit states.
Bechiom resigned on Christmas Eve 2022.
Source: Orange County Register