A former employee who was fired from Aurelio’s Pizza in Joliet is suing the restaurant over allegations of verbal abuse, retaliation for speaking out against the abuse and unfair treatment.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 25, Linda Steen-Bilecki, who was hired by Aurelio’s in 2016, said she was mistreated and eventually fired from the restaurant after complaining that her immediate supervisor said she was “old and ugly” and insulted her about her age.
Steen-Bilecki had filed a complaint against Aurelio’s with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, but the case was dismissed July 27 because the agency determined there was no substantial evidence to support the allegations, according to a notice from the agency.
A call to Steen-Bilecki’s attorney, John Kreamer, was not returned Thursday.
Steen-Bilecki said Luke Pascale, the owner of Aurelio’s in Joliet, called her in October 2016 to let her know she was fired and expressed astonishment she would attempt legal action.
“I’ll send you your final check when I feel like it,” Pascale allegedly said to Steen-Bilecki.
Pascale said the allegations in the lawsuit were “not even remotely true.”
“This is 100 percent made up on her end,” he said.
Pascale said her complaint with the state was dismissed because she made claims without proof. He said he was being sued for a “fabricated story.”
Pascale said Steen-Bilecki was fired for multiple infractions and progressive discipline issues. He said there was a series of write-ups that she was issued.
“She was fired for cause. She claims I was swearing at her and whatnot, which I don’t do,” Pascale said.
Steen-Bilecki said she worked as a server at Aurelio’s, performed other tasks and that she did her job “to the legitimate expectations and satisfaction of her employer and beyond.”
She said that other employees played loud and inappropriate music, engaged in inappropriate and lewd conversations and used profanity in front of customers.
Steen-Bilecki also said her immediate supervisor not only called her “old and ugly” but described her with profanity.
“We’ll get you out of here one way or the other,” the supervisor said to Steen-Bilecki, according to the lawsuit.
After raising complaints about the supervisor’s behavior, Steen-Bilecki said she was retaliated against by someone who put large amounts of sugar in her coffee even though she had diabetes.