A gay waiter was assaulted by his employer after he bought new shoes.
As the New York Post reports, a complaint was filed on Friday, October 9, in the Brooklyn Federal Court. The filed complaint states that on November 15, 2019, an employee at Emilio’s Pizzeria & Ristorante was verbally and physically assaulted by the business owner. Michael Abenante, the employee in question, states that the catalyst for the assault was his black Converse sneakers.
According to the complaint, written by attorney John Luke Jr., Emilio Branchinelli, the business owner, ordered Abenante to buy new shoes or find another f***ing job.” When Abenante, who’d been working at the establishment since 2017, did return to the Commack, New York eatery with new shoes, Brachinelli wasn’t happy. The businessman allegedly complained that the shoes weren’t the right pair.
“You look like a f***ing homo mountain climber, are you f***ing stupid?” the complaint says Brachinelli yelled. “You and your c**t mother both should’ve died when she pushed you out!”
The confrontation did not stop at verbal abuse, however, as the complaint says Branchinelli then chased Abenante throughout the restaurant will yelling, “F***ing f****t, I’ll murder you!” In the midst of that chase, Branchinelli kicked Abenante in the lower back and hit him so hard in the face that a tooth flew out.
This, unfortunately, wasn’t the only case of prejudice at this workplace. Not only did Abenante report being called antigay slurs like the Spanish word “culero,” or physical harassment like being slapped on the butt, but another employee came forward to complain as well. A former employee named Sabrina Kozminsky joined the lawsuit to say that she too dealt with sexual discrimination. Kozminsky says she was also groped by kitchen staff in a “sexually charged hostile work environment.” She was even told by a coworker that he wanted to “put a baby inside [her].” Despite complaining to management, aka Brachinelli’s daughter, nothing changed. Kozminsky eventually quit the job.