California Dealership Sued by Former Employee

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Feb. 8, 2019—A lawsuit was filed against a California dealership by a former employee who alleges the company fired her after hiring a convicted sex offender who spied on her. KPIX 5 reports that former finance manager, Kelly Bessette of Auto Force Regency in Hayward, Calif., alleges co-worker, David Lista, who worked as a handyman and security guard, was spying on her.

Bessette alleges that dealership owner, Michael Steadman, didn't take action after she complained about her co-workers "bizarre" behavior that made her uncomfortable, KPIX 5 reports. 

According to KPIX 5, Bessette came to work to find police officers surrounding Lista's vehicle, where she learned from Steadman that Lista had placed a camera in a fake vent in the women's restroom to spy on those using the restroom.

“I felt completely violated,” Bessette said to KPIX 5. “I wanted to die.”

Later, Bessette learned that Lista was a convicted sex-offender who allegedly spied on girls at Mills High School in Millbrae, Calif., and pleaded no contest to child pornography charges, KPIX 5 reports. 

After taking a few days to recover from the incident, Bessette told KPIX 5 that she was terminated over text-message. According to the news station, the lawsuit accuses the dealership of sex discrimination and negligence. 

“I’ve been instructed by my attorney not to comment on this frivolous, fraudulent lawsuit," Steadman told KPIX 5 over the phone. 

According to Bessette's attorney, an additional sex offender works at the dealership. 

“I think it shows that they have extremely low regard for their other employees that they would put them in this situation where they’re allowed to be preyed upon by these registered sex offenders,” said attorney Rob Schwartz of Gwilliam, Ivary , Chiosso, Cavalli and Brewer to KPIX 5. 

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