Allentown hotel worker fired after alleged attempted groping, solicitation by guest

By Jim Boyle | Dec 2, 2014

A former employee of a hotel near the Allentown Airport says that a complaint she filed

against a guest and co-worker resulted in her suspension and termination, according to a sexual harassment suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Krystal Montagano, of Easton, Pa., seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the Days Hotel at the Allentown Airport, plus injunctive relief preventing the defendants from continuing to allegedly permit discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.

According to the complaint, Montagano worked for a few months in 2012 at the hotel performing various duties, including manning the front desk and conducting audits. On Nov. 2, the plaintiff worked the night desk when a guest, John Kavanaugh, began to complain that he had to checkout in the morning with his crew. The suit says that Montagano explained there were no more rooms available in the hotel.

The complaint also says that Kavanaugh went into the bar for an hour, then returned with a drink in his hand and threatened to have the hotel shutdown by him and his co-workers if they could not receive a room for another night. Montagano phoned one of her supervisors, who confirmed that no accommodations could be made.

Kavanaugh refused to leave the desk, and was soon joined by one of the hotel bartenders, identified only as "Tommy" in the complaint. The plaintiff says that Tommy was also drunk and referred to Montagano as a "$25 fantasy." According to the complaint, Kavanaugh allegedly grabbed Montagano's arm and attempted to make her touch his crotch.

After Montagano pulled her arm away, Kavanuagh apologized and claimed that Tommy told him she was in a prostitution ring. He then walked away for a while, and when Kavanaugh returned, the plaintiff phoned the police. During questioning, Kavanaugh re-stated that Tommy said Montagano was a prostitute, a claim that offended and humiliated the plaintiff, according to the complaint.

The next day, Montagano e-mailed the hotel's management and requested that the matter be handled. According to the complaint, the plaintiff was retaliated against, instead. The suit says that she was taken off the work schedule during the investigation. She was then terminated on Nov. 19 based on a claim by one of her managers that Montagano was "trashed" at the staff's Halloween party.

Montagano claims the accusation is false and a pre-text to terminate her employment because she filed a complaint with management. The claim also says that Tommy has not faced any disciplinary action and remains employed at the hotel.

The complaint says that the actions of Tommy and management created a hostile work environment for Montagano and violated the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act with its discriminatory conduct.

The plaintiff is represented by Wayne Ely and Charles Sipio at Kolman Ely in Penndel, Pa.

The federal case ID is 5:14-cv-06753-LS.

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