Former Boss Says Student Was Only Let Go Cause It Was 'Slow Season'

PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Was a teenager on Long Island fired because she has bad skin?

Kate Nalepinski, 17, says her boss at Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt let her go because of her eczema — an uncontrollable, non-contagious condition, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday.

“I guess she thought I would scare customers away, scare children, because of my skin condition,” Nalepinski said.

The Comsewogue High School honor student suffers from the condition, also called dermatitis, which is a chronic inflammation of the skin.

“I worked my full shift and the manager called me into her back office,” Nalepinski said. “She asked me what was on my skin. I explained I was clean, it was not contagious, and a season disease. She still told me I couldn’t work there.”

“I asked her if I could wear long sleeves, instead of the t-shirts they ask you to wear. She said [that was] not acceptable, because it was still visible on my neck,” she added

Nalepinski said she is sure her firing had nothing to do with her job performance.

“Before I lost the job, [my boss said] that I was one of the hardest workers she ever had,” she said.

CBS 2 tried speaking to the store managers. Before asking us to leave, they said Kate was let go only because it was the slow season — and that she is welcome to come back in the summer.

But Nalepinski isn’t buying it. She started an online anti-discrimination petition.

During her job interview, Nalepinski said she was wearing long sleeves. Doctors say eczema is not dangerous, not contagious and cannot be spread by food handlers.

CBS 2 contacted Tutti Frutti’s corporate offices by e-mail and phone and was waiting for a reply.

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