Transgender woman sues N.J. restaurant claiming unlawful termination

New Jersey is one of 21 states that explicitly prohibits employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Image: Sicilian Sun Italian restaurant
Sicilian Sun Italian restaurant in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ.Google
By Noah Higgins Dunn

A transgender woman filed a lawsuit last week against a New Jersey restaurant claiming she was unlawfully fired due to her gender identity.

Crystal Aiello worked at Sicilian Sun in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., for just one day in September before the owner of the Italian restaurant, Jim Boggio, informed her she was being terminated.

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"Boggio called plaintiff and left a message stating, 'Other servers did not feel like you were a good fit,' and that she did not need to return to the restaurant," the lawsuit states. "Boggio fired the plaintiff solely because at least one member of staff was uncomfortable working with a transgender woman."

The suit, filed on Jan. 29 in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County, seeks lost wages, punitive damages and legal fees under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The state law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and business contracts based on several traits, including race, nationality, age, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity.

New Jersey is one of 21 states that explicitly prohibits employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity, according to LGBTQ think tank Movement Advancement Project.

“We appreciate as civil rights attorneys the difficulties and challenges faced by transgender people, in today’s America especially," Kevin Costello, Aiello's attorney, told NBC News. "We look forward to having process applied to Crystal’s case."

Sicilian Sun did not immediately return calls for comment.

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