A 17-year-old from Long Island says she was fired from her job at a frozen yogurt shop after one day, and she believes her non-contagious skin condition was what got her the boot.
Kate Nalepinski, 17, told CBS News she fired after one shift at Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt in Port Jefferson, NY. Nalepinski has eczema, a totally non-contagious skin condition that sporadically leaves skin inflamed and itchy—she says her manager told her she was no longer allowed to work at the shop after asking about her skin. "I explained I was clean, it was not contagious, and a season disease. She still told me I couldn’t work there," Nalepinski told CBS News. "I asked her if I could wear long sleeves, instead of the t-shirts they ask you to wear. She said [that was] not acceptable, because it was still visible on my neck."
Nalepinski has since started a petition on Change.org asking Tutti Frutti to "end your discrimination." "The manager encouraged me to return in the Summer - when my skin is clear," Nalepinski wrote on the site. "This is unacceptable and blatant form of discrimination, based on my skin condition." The petition currently has 211 signatures; meanwhile, managers at Nalepinski's former shop told CBS the teenager was merely let go for the slow winter season, and can return to the job when sales pick up again in the summer.
About 10 to 20 percent of children around the world have eczema, and the skin condition affects about one to 3 percent of adults worldwide, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.