Monday, March 08, 2010
Jennifer Paviglianti of Centereach, New York wanted to keep her pregnancy quiet from her boss John Doxey until she reached the three-month mark. Doxey is the owner of the gentlemen’s club Café Royale, and Jennifer is a bartender there, or at least she was. Gossip amongst her fellow employees reached Doxey before she was able to tell him the news of her pregnancy herself. Paviglianti says her now former employer immediately assumed that the pregnant bartender would be unable to do her job and she was soon fired from her position.
On February 2, Jennifer Paviglianti filed charges of discrimination based on sex discrimination, retaliation, perceived disability discrimination, and pregnancy discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to Paviglianti, her employer repeatedly told her that customers of the Café Royal would not be pleased to see a pregnant woman behind the bar as they expected to be served by sexy bartenders. Furthermore, she claims that John Doxey told her that her pregnancy and appearance were actually hurting business.
Soon, Jennifer found her shifts falling off the schedule and saw her paychecks dwindle. She claims he was trying to get her to quit and hitting her where it hurt. He also hired another bartender on the nights that she worked to cut into her already disappearing tips. The abuse, says Paviglianti, continued with Doxey finding ways to make her job more difficult, like forcing her to clean the bar with ammonia rather than safer products for pregnant women.
Jennifer Paviglianti started to sense something was wrong so she did some research. After discovering that cases of employee discrimination were extremely hard to prove, she concocted a plan to tape record her boss. With little coaxing and within the confines of the law, Jennifer easily captured her boss on tape saying discriminating things about her being pregnant and how her condition was negatively affecting business. This tape became the smoking gun that Jennifer needed. Armed with the tape, lawyers, and her complaint with the EEOC, Jennifer has a real shot of protecting other pregnant women form facing the kind of discrimination she has.