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.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com: