On November 20, former owners of 11 Southern California Blaze Pizzas were ordered to pay a former employee $491,911 for economic losses and punitive damages related to sexual harassment. Brothers Alberto Daniel Driz and Maurice Driz kept a pattern of sexual and emotional abuse against Vilma Aguilar and other employees at the Blaze Pizza at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California from 2013 to 2015.
According to the Daily Breeze, Aguilar was 16 years old when hired at the Torrance location, and she eventually moved up to general manager by 2015. In Los Angeles Superior Court, Aguilar testified the Driz brothers touched her inappropriately and subjected her to degrading comments, often in front of customers. Before quitting the job, she complained to upper management about the abuse, but was given the option of quitting or transferring to a location at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles. This location is 30 miles away from her home.
Alberto Driz was co-owner of LA Metro BP Holding Co. LLC and Rolling Hills BP, the parent company that owned the eleven Blaze Pizzas throughout Southern California. His brother Maurice Driz was the director of operations.
In an unrelated case, the Driz’s were convicted of felony assault in 2016 and served 45 days in jail. They were forced to sell their Blaze Pizza interests, as the company franchise agreement prohibits felons from operating a location.