IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE
EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT,
FOR BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA
v. CASE NO.: 05-2004-CA-030158
STERLING CASINO LINES, L.P.,
COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff, ROSANNE MAROTTA, by and through her undersigned attorney, sues Defendant, STERLING CASINO LINES, L.P., and alleges as follows:
1. This action is brought pursuant to Chapter 760, Florida Statutes (2003) to obtain relief for unlawful discrimination committed by Defendant against Plaintiff in terminating Plaintiff from employment because of her age.
2. This is an action for damages in which the matter in controversy exceeds Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00), exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney’s fees.
3. This is also an action for retaliation in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§2601-2654.
4. The unlawful practices alleged below were committed in Cape Canaveral, Brevard County, Florida.
5. Plaintiff currently resides in Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida, and at all times material herein resided in Brevard County, Florida.
DISCRIMINATORY TERMINATION BECAUSE OF AGE
6. Plaintiff was forty-four (44) years of age at the time of her September 27, 2003, discharge, having been born on December 28, 1958.
7. Defendant, Sterling Casino Lines, L.P., is a Florida corporation, doing business in the State of Florida.
8. At all times material hereto, Defendant was doing business in Brevard County, Florida, under the name of Sterling Casino.
9. Plaintiff was employed by the Defendant in or about March 1999.
10. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant in the position of Cocktail Waitress.
11. At all times, Plaintiff performed all of the duties assigned to her in a professionally competent manner, faithfully followed all reasonable instructions given to her by her supervisors, and abided by all the rules and regulations of Defendant.
12. Plaintiff was discharged by Defendant because of her age on September 27, 2003.
13. Plaintiff has been denied payment of wages and other employment prerequisites as a result of her unlawful termination.
14. Leading up to Plaintiff’s termination, Plaintiff’s Manager, Carole McLean, made ageist comments about Plaintiff and her coworkers.
15. At an employee meeting, Ms. McLean said words to the effect that she was hiring “young girls” in the hopes that the old Cocktail Waitresses that she inherited when she became Manager would leave.
16. On another occasion, Ms. McLean said words to the effect that Plaintiff was too old and two other Cocktail Waitresses were too fat and she should fire them for these reasons.
17. Cocktail Waitresses at Sterling Casino were required to wear a v-neck blouse with bikini bottoms.
18. In addition to these statements, Ms. McLean required Plaintiff to work weekends despite Plaintiff’s long-standing weekday schedule.
19. Ms. McLean never consulted with Plaintiff before changing her schedule.
20. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff was replaced by a person younger than herself.
21. Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 17, 2004, (which was dual filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations) and more than one hundred eighty (180) days have expired since the filing of said Charge of Discrimination. A copy of said Charge of Discrimination is attached hereto as Exhibit “A”.
22. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
23. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, Sterling Casino Lines, L.P. for all damages to which she may be entitled, including without limitation:
A. Judgment for her back pay, lost tips, and lost wages, including all sums of money Plaintiff would have earned, together with such other increases to which she would be entitled, had she not been discriminatorily discharged;
B. An award of interest on those sums of back pay for which Defendant is liable to Plaintiff;
C. An award for expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search, all money paid for health benefits, and all money paid for medical expenses;
D. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
E. An order requiring that all of Defendant’s personnel records be corrected to reflect satisfactory service by Plaintiff;
F. Compensatory damages for loss of dignity and mental anguish;
G. Punitive damages; and
H. Such other damages and remedies as may be just and proper.
RETALIATION BECAUSE OF FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE REQUEST
24. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 3 through 5, 7 through 11, and 22 through 23 above as though fully set forth herein.
25. Plaintiff claims that Defendant retaliated against her for taking family medical leave to care for a parent in violation of the FMLA, 29 U.S.C. §§2601-2654.
26. Specifically, Defendant reduced Plaintiff’s regular full-time work schedule from five days per week to four days per week upon her return from family medical leave.
27. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant in excess of twelve (12) months and for at least 1,250 hours over the twelve (12) months prior to her request in or about December 2002 for family medical leave.
28. Plaintiff was an “employee” as defined by FMLA Statute, 29 U.S.C. §2611(2) in 2002.
29. Defendant employed in excess of fifty (50) employees for each working day during each of twenty (20) or more calendar work weeks in 2002 and was an “employer” as defined by FMLA Statute, 29 U.S.C. §2611(4).
30. In or about December 2002, Plaintiff’s mother became physically ill with heart disease and she suffered cardiac arrest.
31. Plaintiff’s mother resides in New Jersey and Plaintiff had to travel to New Jersey for approximately three weeks to care for her mother while she was in the hospital and after she was released from the hospital.
32. Before going to New Jersey, Plaintiff informed Ms. McLean about her mother’s medical condition.
33. Plaintiff asked Ms. McLean for leave to care for her mother.
34. Ms. McLean denied Plaintiff’s request for leave.
35. Plaintiff then spoke to Defendant’s Human Resources Director, Terry Bernard, and he allowed Plaintiff to take the leave.
36. After Plaintiff arrived in New Jersey, she called Ms. McLean to inform her about the status of her mother’s condition and to tell her when she expected to return to work.
37. Ms. McLean responded that she did not know whether she would have a position available for Plaintiff when she returned to Florida.
38. When Plaintiff returned, she learned that Ms. McLean had taken her off of the work schedule for that week despite Plaintiff being ready, willing and able to immediately return to work.
39. In addition, after returning from leave Ms. McLean reduced Plaintiff’s regular work schedule from five days per week to four days per week.
40. Ms. McLean scheduled Plaintiff to work four days per week for approximately one year after she returned from family medical leave.
41. Defendant violated 29 U.S.C. §2615(a)(1) which makes it unlawful for an employer to “interfere with, restrain or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right provided” by the FMLA. Specifically, Defendant interfered with Plaintiff’s right to return from family medical leave to her regular work schedule.
42. As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff suffered damage to her financial welfare by reason of Defendant’s retaliatory actions against Plaintiff.
43. Plaintiff lost income as a result of Defendant’s retaliatory work schedule reduction.
44. The violations of Plaintiff’s rights by Defendant were intentional, malicious and willful.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, for all damages to which she may be entitled, including, without limitation:
A. Judgment for all wages, salary, employment benefits and other compensation denied or lost by Plaintiff by reason of Defendant’s violation of the FMLA;
C. An additional amount as liquidated damages; and
D. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein.
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.
DATED: This 9th day of December, 2004.
Allen & Trent, P.A.
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
Daniel A. Perez, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 426903
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road, Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681
Attorney: Maurice Arcadier
Our Melbourne office is centrally located in Brevard County, enabling our lawyers to serve clients throughout “the Space Coast”, including Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay and Vero Beach.