INWOOD, Manhattan — Chadel Reyes is in the home stretch of her pregnancy — due any day now — but, so are her bills.
They’re piling up because she’s been out of work for the last three months — and not by choice.
“He cut my days off, and he only left me working Saturday and Sunday too," Reyes said. "He told me that I couldn’t work because I had a treasure inside me, and that I have to be in my house, bed resting, but I told him that I still could work."
Reyes says her boss, George Psathas, owner of the Twin Donut chain of restaurants, took away her decision to work by cutting her hours and her days at the Northern Manhattan location, where she’s been employed for the last year.
Reyes provided PIX11 with a copy of one of her recorded conversations with Psathas, in which he can be heard telling her, “You need to be home. That's my point."
After her dispute in April of this year with Psathas, she called the hotline at A Better Balance, an organization that advocates for equality in the workplace.
“She’s also not able to access paid family leave under New York state law because she’s no longer employed by this company,” said A Better Balance Senior Staff Attorney Elizabeth Chen.
Reyes filed a lawsuit against Psathas and Twin Donut Thursday.
“Pregnancy discrimination is illegal," Chen said. "It’s an entirely paternalistic attitude to say a woman should not be working simply because she’s pregnant,” said Chen.
After an employee at the Twin Donut Plus shop told PIX11 the owner, Psathas, was gone for the day and no longer available, we managed to track him down, and spoke with him by phone Thursday night.
When asked if he is denying that he told Reyes in person that she can’t work, he responded, “of course I deny it, because I only moved for easier hours.”
Even though we told Psathas we heard his conversation with Chadel, in which he told her, she was better off at home, he insisted to us, it never happened.
Psathas added, “that’s not true. I only made the difference for her, for later hours to make it easier for herself.”
If you think you’re being discriminated against at work, you can reach A Better Balance at https://www.abetterbalance.org/get-help/ or call their helpline number at 212-430-5982.