LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Kat Von D is being sued by the ex-manager of her former High Voltage Tattoo store in West Hollywood, who alleges she was wrongfully fired in 2020 for raising concerns about alleged disregard for his boss for warrants and coronavirus health concerns.
Plaintiff Stephanie Davidson’s allegations in Los Angeles Superior Court include wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, failure to provide reasonable accommodation and various state labor code violations. Davidson is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the lawsuit filed Tuesday.
A representative for Von D could not immediately be reached. Von D’s real name is Katherine Von Drachenberg, and she is the longtime former girlfriend of 52-year-old reality TV personality Jesse James, the founder of West Coast Choppers.
In 2017, Von D hired Davidson as the manager of her popular West Hollywood tattoo shop, High Voltage Tattoo, a Los Angeles hotspot that went out of business in March 2020 due to the coronavirus, the suit says. Three months later, California began reopening non-essential personal care businesses and although Davidson wanted to keep everyone safe, his concerns were quickly dismissed by Von D, who “made it clear to Mrs. Davidson and the other employees that she refused to enforce any of the mandate rules, including the use of face coverings, and continued to go so far as to dismiss the COVID-19 pandemic as a whole,” according to the complaint.
Von D asked an employee who wore a mask: “Are you going to wear a maxi pad on your face?” and also told another worker that the person’s choice to cover their face was influenced by “a state of fear based on the mainstream media narrative,” the lawsuit says.
Davidson, who has diabetes, did not feel safe enough to return to work after the June 2020 reopening and unsuccessfully tried to reason with Von D regarding his “extremist views on COVID-19 safety precautions,” says the pursuit. The plaintiff then reported her health concerns regarding the high-voltage tattoo to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, the suit says.
Despite a second closure order announced in July 2020 for indoor personal care facilities, High Voltage Tattoo “illegally remained open,” the suit states. That same month, Von D retaliated against Davidson by firing her because she leaked information to authorities about High Voltage Tattoo’s alleged non-compliance with local, state or federal health regulations, according to the suit.
“Ms. Davidson loved her job and was devastated by the loss of her job and her livelihood,” the lawsuit states.
Von D also failed to pay Davidson a minimum hourly wage or pay him the overtime rate, according to the suit.
Last October, Von D announced that she was closing High Voltage Tattoo, which featured on the TLC reality show “LA Ink,” and was moving with her family to Indiana.