Questions remain after firing at Kennett Sq. eatery

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By Anne Uhle, Correspondent, The Times

Lindsey Pedicone

KENNETT SQUARE — Is it okay to fire a waitress for needing to take care of an immediate personal hygiene issue – with approval to leave work briefly from an immediate supervisor? Is a local man within his rights to fire her for leaving her post? That’s a question that many regular customers of Fran Keller’s Eatery may be asking in the wake of one waitress’s firing and another’s subsequent resignation last month.

Lindsey Pedicone, 22, of Kennett Square was fired on Sunday, July 30 from her waitressing job at Fran Keller’s Eatery for leaving to clean herself up after getting her period.

Pedicone opened the restaurant at six that morning and worked for an hour before the other waitress, Lynn Roberts Aceto, came in. With two waitresses on staff, Pedicone had the chance to use the bathroom.

“I made sure all of my tables had their food before I went,” said Pedicone.

In the bathroom, Pedicone saw that she started her period and needed to clean herself up.

“I told the second waitress that I’d be right back and that I needed to take a ‘little walk home real quick’ which in female terms means ‘hey, I’ve got to change my pants, a bodily thing happened.’ I went home and cleaned myself up, changed my underwear, and put in a tampon. Lynn is acting boss when Fran isn’t around so I did have a boss’s permission. I live three blocks away, all of this took 15 minutes,” she explains.

Roberts Aceto said that while Pedicone was changing, the owner, Fran Keller, came into the restaurant in a bad mood. According to both women, when Pedicone returned Keller asked her where she was.

Pedicone didn’t want to talk about menstrual hygiene concerns in front of the restaurant’s customers so she told him that she needed to take a walk and she would tell him about it later.

“He told me I could keep walking out the door,” said Pedicone, who worked at the restaurant for the past three years. “I told him I was there to work and would only stop if he formally fired me. He told me I was formally fired. He treated me like a criminal from the moment he fired me. He wanted me to wait in the back room, I refused because I was already fired and I bought a cup of coffee, I was a customer at that point.”

Keller called the police after Pedicone refused to leave. Roberts Aceto tried to talk Keller out of calling the police.

“She told him to let me work and that we would figure out what to do at the end of the shift.” Pedicone said. “When the police arrived she announced to the restaurant that she couldn’t believe he was firing an employee because she got her period and left to change so that she could be sanitary for working in a food service environment.”

Roberts Aceto confirmed Pedicone’s story.

“I just quit my job at Fran Keller’s Eatery in support of a waitress who was wrongly fired and almost cited with trespassing. I will miss all of you immensely – you have been my ‘other family’ for the past seventeen years and I love you all,” Aceto announced via Facebook.

Kennett Square Police Chief William Holdsworth described the call he received and the situation in the restaurant: “We were contacted by the owner, Francis Keller, saying that he had just fired two employees and that he requested that they leave the property. He told us that they had been refusing to leave. Our officers arrived to make contact with the subjects who had their own account of the story, which doesn’t change the fact that the owner wanted them to leave the property. They were asked to turn over their keys to the police and the keys were returned to Mr. Keller.”

Chief Holdsworth said additionally that he did not know why the waitresses were being fired, he wasn’t given an explanation, but the owner wanted them removed from the property and the waitresses cooperated with the police.

A representative from the State Department of Labor says that “under current Pennsylvania law, an employee works at the will of the employer, however it is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their race; color; sex; age (over 40); ancestry; national origin; religious creed; having a GED rather than a high school diploma, or disability. Employees who believe they were terminated unfairly can file a discrimination complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.”

Neither of the waitresses plans on taking legal action against Keller.

“He’s getting close to retirement,” said Pedicone. “I don’t want or need that kind of money. I don’t want to take that away from a man who is nearly 80.”

“I have loved Fran Keller and his family for the past seventeen years. I still do. I just don’t approve of his bigoted, insensitive, and ignorant attitudes and comments about people. It’s wrong and I can’t bear to watch those it hurts or to hear it any longer.” Roberts Aceto announced via Facebook.

Keller was contacted and spoke with a reporter but declined to give an official comment.

The Chester County Department of Health was contacted to seek guidance on the health-related issues in circumstances such as these, but didn’t comment at this time.

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One Comment

  1. D. Miller says:

    Normally I don’t even read this crap paper because of it’s biased reporting BUT I just happened upon this article and I will comment on this one.
    I live and work in Kennett Square since I was 18 and now 45. I’ll tell you this right now, this type of action to an employee will only result in that business closing. I will never set foot in that eatery ever again!! Too late to keep working Fran, might as well close your doors today. Once this hit’s all the social media sites your business will be done.

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