Phila. woman sues culinary school for discriminatory firing

By Jon Campisi | Sep 2, 2013

A Philadelphia woman claims in a new civil filing that a cooking school discriminated against her because of her age and disability.

Joyce L. Levick is suing the New Jersey-based Culinary Academy of Long Island, also known as Star Career Academy, in federal court over allegations that she was terminated from her job after just over two years of employment for pretextual reasons.

The plaintiff claims she was the subject of discriminatory and disparate treatment while employed by the defendant from October 2009 to December 2011.

During her employment, Levick claims, she was denied comparable pay and promotions with commensurate raises, and she was the subject of excessive supervision, humiliation and harassment.

Levick also alleges she was often insulted and belittled, and that supervisors made remarks to her such as “You are 62 years old, why are you talking to 21 years olds …,” and “You are the oldest one who works here.”

The plaintiff was instructed to perform tasks not asked of her coworkers, duties that she says exacerbated her unspecified medical condition, for which she required surgery in the fall of 2011.

The complaint states that Levick had complained to the defendant’s corporate offices about the treatment, but that her pleas were ignored.

After returning to work in early October 2011 following medical leave, the suit states, Levick was told by her supervisors that “you should be healed by now,” and “you are just dramatizing things.”

One supervisor even remarked, “what are we regressing now?” after the plaintiff showed up to work with the aid of a crutch.

The defendant refused to provide the plaintiff with reasonable workplace accommodations during this time, the suit states.

Levick was eventually fired in December 2011 on what the suit calls a “pretext.”

As a result of the company’s conduct, the complaint states, Levick has sustained economic losses and she has experienced pain and suffering.

Levick seeks to have a judge issue a permanent injunction enjoining the defendant from engaging in the unlawful practices outlined in the lawsuit.

The plaintiff also seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, front and back pay, costs and attorney’s fees.

Levick is being represented by Philadelphia attorney Harry J. Sher, who filed the civil action on his client’s behalf on Aug. 29 at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-05080-RB. 

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