Long Island Teen Says She Was Fired From Her Job Because Of Eczema

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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