Ex-waitress sues former employer for wrongful termination

Jon Campisi Oct. 20, 2011, 2:31pm

A Bucks County, Pa. woman who claims she was initially fired from her waitress job of 10 years after acting as a witness against a manager who was discovered having an extra-marital affair with a female employee, but who was later reinstated, only to be fired a second time a year later, has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against her former employer.

Newtown, Pa. attorney Brian M. Puricelli filed the civil action Oct. 18 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Jennifer Adams.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are Philadelphia-based Kelly’s Seafood, Inc., and restaurant employees Brett W. Kelly, Brian Kelly, Ron Kelly and Tim Kelly.

According to the complaint, Adams, who was hired as a waitress by the company in May 1999, was fired in January 2009, a termination that coincided with her witnessing manager Brian Kelly’s alleged affair with another female employee.

The wife discovered the affair, and Adams acted as a witness for the employee who had the alleged courtship with Brian Kelly, the suit states.

Adams’ termination was vacated by defendants Brett and Tim Kelly, the suit states, but at the end of the year, in December 2009, Adams was again terminated, this time after reporting the perceived sex employment discrimination being taken against her, which occurred after she became involved in the situation with regard to Brian Kelly and his alleged mistress.

Following a complaint of sex discrimination to Brett Kelly prior to her firing, the man allegedly told Adams: “Oh if you are going to complain of employment sex discrimination then you are fired,” the lawsuit states.

“Although Brett Kelly actually terminated Plaintiff, all named defendants, Brian, Ron and Tim knew of the Plaintiff’s opposition to employment discrimination, and the termination, and each condoned, acquiesced or ratified the termination,” the suit states.

In January 2010, Adams filed a charge of sex discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was dual-filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

On Aug. 1 of this year, the EEOC provided Adams with a Right-To-Sue letter paving the way for this civil action.

“Plaintiff has exhausted administrative remedies, in that the Plaintiff afforded the opportunity and time allowed under law for the EEOC and Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to fulfill its statutory duties,” the suit states.

The lawsuit contains two counts of employment discrimination/fail to investigate and remedy/retaliation.

For each count listed, Adams seeks unspecified compensatory, consequential and punitive damages, front and back pay, negative tax consequence relief, attorney’s fees and other legal and equitable relief.

Adams also seeks job reinstatement, declaratory judgment against the restaurant and to enjoin the City of Philadelphia and its employees from aiding and abetting the “policy, practice and custom declared unconstitutional.”

A jury trial is being demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06496-LP.

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