Metro Weekly

New Jersey restaurant server claims she was fired because she’s transgender

Crystal Aiello's lawsuit alleges she was fired because another server felt "uncomfortable" around transgender women

Sicilian Sun restaurant – Photo: Facebook.

A woman in New Jersey claims she was fired from her job as a server at an Italian restaurant because she is transgender.

Crystal Aiello says she worked for The Sicilian Sun in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., for one day last September, but owner James Boggio left a message for her telling her that the “other servers did not feel like you were a good fit” for the restaurant, reports the North Jersey Record.

Aiello says she did not receive the message in time and showed up for her scheduled shift, at which point management told her another server was “uncomfortable” working with transgender women, according to a lawsuit filed on Jan. 29 in Bergen County Superior Court.

Aiello alleges in the lawsuit that Boggio told her the staff, and not him, as an owner, make hiring decisions. She also claims she was told that she was not fired for performance reasons.

The lawsuit asks Boggio and the restaurant’s parent company to compensate Aiello for lost wages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees, alleging that the restaurant violated New Jersey’s civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that Boggio “aided and abetted” the discrimination Aiello experienced.

The lawsuit also asks the court to order the Sicilian Sun to put in place measures to ensure other transgender individuals are not discriminated against in the future.

Neither the Sicilian Sun nor Boggio responded to a request for comment.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!