LOS ANGELES – A woman who had a job managing fan interaction with the Doobie Brothers band is suing Live Nation Entertainment Inc., a number of related companies and a former supervisor, alleging she was subjected to disparate treatment by a supervisor for having a friendship with a band member and then wrongfully fired in 2019.
In her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought Thursday, plaintiff Nicoletta Gacos alleges discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation, wrongful termination, negligent supervision and retention and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Gacos seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. A Live Nation representative could not be immediately reached.
Gacos was hired by the companies in early 2016 as a VIP manager and her duties included taking photos for the Doobie Brothers’ social media account and managing fan interaction, the suit states.
In late 2017, Marc Quinones, a percussionist who had previously worked with the Allman Brothers Band, joined the Doobie Brothers for their fall tour, the suit states. Gacos and Quinones had known each other for several years prior and maintained a close friendship, according to the suit.
In the summer of 2018, David Sutherland, also known as Vid, joined the tour in a supervisorial role, the suit states. Although Gacos and Sutherland got along well at first, in April 2019 his attitude changed, the suit states.
Quinones contacted Gacos and told her that Sutherland “had called to let him know that he knew of their past relationship and wanted assurances that it would not interfere with the tour,” the suit states.
Gacos was surprised because her past friendship with Quinones had never adversely interfered with the tour, the suit states.
When Gacos tried to talk with Sutherland about his concerns, Sutherland allegedly said he had “been down this road before and the women are the first to go,” then added, “We will see how long you last. How is the crew treating you? You should talk to the crew since they are concerned as well.”
Gacos later found out that another woman who had worked with Sutherland when they were employed by the Allman Brothers Band — and was subsequently fired — had treated her and another woman poorly after finding out they were dating members of the band’s crew, the suit states.
Matters worsened between Sutherland and Gacos as he intentionally focused on her in a negative way in front of crew members and once forced her to sleep on the tour bus in a truck stop because he did not arrange for her lodging, the suit states.
“(Sutherland) made Ms. Gacos feel uncomfortable because every time he interacted with her, it became clear to Ms. Gacos that (he) was sabotaging her job duties,” the suit states.
In August 2019, after the tour ended, the vice president of sales for VIP Nation LLC, one of the companies the plaintiff has sued, contacted Gacos about additional tour dates in the fall, the suit states. Gacos told the vice president that she turned down another job in television because of her commitments to VIP Nation and the band, the suit states.
The vice president “thanked Ms. Gacos for staying on board and told her to go ahead and book all the flights for end of fall tour in November,” the suit states.
A month later, the vice president told Gacos she was fired and explained it was because band members were unhappy with her services, according to the suit. However Gacos learned that neither the band members nor their wives knew of her firing and did not say they were unhappy with her work, the suit states.
Gacos’ termination was “substantially motivated” by her gender and because she had complained about “discriminatory and harassing conduct,” according to the suit.