Los Angeles, CA- A set dresser for the CBS series 90210 alleges that she was required to have a sexual relationship with one of her supervisors as a condition of her employment, but in a new lawsuit she alleges that that he began to sexually harass her.
Jaime Squillare agreed to take a job as the set dresser for CBS’s 90210 series in exchange for having sex with her supervisors Michael Sunga. Squillare also agreed to give Sunga her first month’s wages which amounted to $10,000.
The lawsuit states, “Mr. Sunga promised to employ Ms. Squillare as a set dresser at 90210 if she succumbed to his sexual advances and gave him all of the wages that she earned during the first month of her employment.”
Squillare said in her lawsuit that after she was hired Sunga reminded her of their “quid pro quo” arrangement and threatened to fire her is she didn’t pay him the $10,000, the Hollywood Reporter stated.
“Almost immediately after Ms. Squillare started working at 90210, Mr. Sunga threatened to terminate her employment unless she agreed to be his girlfriend. Ms. Squillare initially resisted, but in response to Mr. Sunga’s constant threats, eventually obliged,” the lawsuit states. “Thus, the term of Ms. Squillare’s employment was expressly or impliedly conditioned upon her acceptance of her supervisor’s unwelcome sexual advances.”
After succumbing to Sunga’s sexual demands, Squillare alleges that he began to flaunt their relationship in public and sent “her inappropriate text” messages, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Sunga also allegedly asked to accompany Squillare to her parent’s for Christmas and continued to demand money from her.
Squillare alleges that Sunga harassed her for six months and even asked her to participate in payroll fraud by charging CBS for personal expenses. Sunga became frustrated that Squillare was not interested in a romantic relationship and began to retaliate against her.
According to the lawsuit, Sunga began to punish her and not allow her to leave the set to well-after the other employees have left. We asked why she wasn’t allowed to leave like the other employees; Sunga told her she was in the “penalty box.”
He also threatened to come to her house and kick the door in and spread a rumor on the set that she gave him a sexually transmitted disease when he knows she didn’t.
Sunga also threatened to have her black-balled so she could never work in California again.
Squillare’s suit alleges that her coworkers and the studio were aware that she was being sexually harassed and did nothing to stop it. She was terminated in January 2013.
She says the sexual harassment made her suffer physical and mental distress, “including stress, tension, nausea, anxiety and humiliation [and] embarrassment.”
Squillare is now suing CBS and Sunga for hostile work environment, retaliation, failure to prevent sexual harassment, wrongful termination and loss of wages.
In a statement, CBS said, “We were just made aware of these allegations, therefore it is premature for us to comment at this time.”
Quid pro quo, which means “this for that” is a common type of sexual harassment and can occur in any type of workplace, whether it is a Hollywood set, a board room, or a factory.