Michael Abenante, a waiter at Emilio’s Pizzeria & Ristorante in Long Island, New York, has filed a lawsuit against his former boss, Emilio Branchinelli over verbal and physical harassment he endured while employed at the restaurant.
Abenante claims in the suit that restaurant employees taunted him over his sexual orientation, slapping his buttocks and referring to him using homophobic slurs. Abenante further claims he complained multiple times about his treatment at the hands of co-workers, but Branchinelli never took action. Things came to a head in November 2019 when Abenante wore a pair of black Converse sneakers to work. That, according to the former waiter, triggered a violent altercation with his boss.
The sight of the sneakers so enraged Branchinelli that he shouted “find another f*cking job,” and ordered Abenante to go buy another pair of shoes. When the waiter returned, Branchinelli flew into a violent tirade.
You look like a f**king homo mountain climber, are you f*cking stupid?” Branchenielli allegedly screamed. “You and your c*nt mother both should’ve died when she pushed you out!”
The boss then chased his employee from the restaurant, shouting more homophobic slurs including “F*cking faggot, I’ll murder you.”. He also allegedly punched Abenante in the mouth so hard, Abenante spit a tooth.
Abenante’s lawsuit charges Branchinelli with civil rights violations, discrimination and civil battery. Another former employee, Sabrina Kozminsky, has joined Michael Abenante in the lawsuit, also alleging she suffered sexual harassment while on the job.
Queerty reached out to Branchinelli regarding the lawsuit. At the time of this writing, he had not responded to our request for comment.