Questions remain after firing at Kennett Sq. eatery

By Anne Uhle, Correspondent, The Times

Lindsey Pedicone

KENNETT SQUARE — Is it okay to fire a waitress for needing to take care of an immediate personal hygiene issue – with approval to leave work briefly from an immediate supervisor? Is a local man within his rights to fire her for leaving her post? That’s a question that many regular customers of Fran Keller’s Eatery may be asking in the wake of one waitress’s firing and another’s subsequent resignation last month.

Lindsey Pedicone, 22, of Kennett Square was fired on Sunday, July 30 from her waitressing job at Fran Keller’s Eatery for leaving to clean herself up after getting her period.

Pedicone opened the restaurant at six that morning and worked for an hour before the other waitress, Lynn Roberts Aceto, came in. With two waitresses on staff, Pedicone had the chance to use the bathroom.

“I made sure all of my tables had their food before I went,” said Pedicone.

In the bathroom, Pedicone saw that she started her period and needed to clean herself up.

“I told the second waitress that I’d be right back and that I needed to take a ‘little walk home real quick’ which in female terms means ‘hey, I’ve got to change my pants, a bodily thing happened.’ I went home and cleaned myself up, changed my underwear, and put in a tampon. Lynn is acting boss when Fran isn’t around so I did have a boss’s permission. I live three blocks away, all of this took 15 minutes,” she explains.

Roberts Aceto said that while Pedicone was changing, the owner, Fran Keller, came into the restaurant in a bad mood. According to both women, when Pedicone returned Keller asked her where she was.

Pedicone didn’t want to talk about menstrual hygiene concerns in front of the restaurant’s customers so she told him that she needed to take a walk and she would tell him about it later.

“He told me I could keep walking out the door,” said Pedicone, who worked at the restaurant for the past three years. “I told him I was there to work and would only stop if he formally fired me. He told me I was formally fired. He treated me like a criminal from the moment he fired me. He wanted me to wait in the back room, I refused because I was already fired and I bought a cup of coffee, I was a customer at that point.”

Keller called the police after Pedicone refused to leave. Roberts Aceto tried to talk Keller out of calling the police.

“She told him to let me work and that we would figure out what to do at the end of the shift.” Pedicone said. “When the police arrived she announced to the restaurant that she couldn’t believe he was firing an employee because she got her period and left to change so that she could be sanitary for working in a food service environment.”

Roberts Aceto confirmed Pedicone’s story.

“I just quit my job at Fran Keller’s Eatery in support of a waitress who was wrongly fired and almost cited with trespassing. I will miss all of you immensely – you have been my ‘other family’ for the past seventeen years and I love you all,” Aceto announced via Facebook.

Kennett Square Police Chief William Holdsworth described the call he received and the situation in the restaurant: “We were contacted by the owner, Francis Keller, saying that he had just fired two employees and that he requested that they leave the property. He told us that they had been refusing to leave. Our officers arrived to make contact with the subjects who had their own account of the story, which doesn’t change the fact that the owner wanted them to leave the property. They were asked to turn over their keys to the police and the keys were returned to Mr. Keller.”

Chief Holdsworth said additionally that he did not know why the waitresses were being fired, he wasn’t given an explanation, but the owner wanted them removed from the property and the waitresses cooperated with the police.

A representative from the State Department of Labor says that “under current Pennsylvania law, an employee works at the will of the employer, however it is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their race; color; sex; age (over 40); ancestry; national origin; religious creed; having a GED rather than a high school diploma, or disability. Employees who believe they were terminated unfairly can file a discrimination complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.”

Neither of the waitresses plans on taking legal action against Keller.

“He’s getting close to retirement,” said Pedicone. “I don’t want or need that kind of money. I don’t want to take that away from a man who is nearly 80.”

“I have loved Fran Keller and his family for the past seventeen years. I still do. I just don’t approve of his bigoted, insensitive, and ignorant attitudes and comments about people. It’s wrong and I can’t bear to watch those it hurts or to hear it any longer.” Roberts Aceto announced via Facebook.

Keller was contacted and spoke with a reporter but declined to give an official comment.

The Chester County Department of Health was contacted to seek guidance on the health-related issues in circumstances such as these, but didn’t comment at this time.

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  1. Kacey says:

    Are you kidding me? This is an issue people who eat out do not want to contend with. It is called personal for a reason and we did not need to be enlightened. Gross article…very crass.

    I’m sure this was not her first infraction and why would a young woman want THAT information in the press.

    Might want to think a little more about a good solid topic…one that does not insult half of your reading population.

  2. Debra S says:

    I feel compelled to respond to this article since my sister and I were there having breakfast during the entire event and it seems that there is much mis-information in the news article. We were told by Ms. Roberts Aceto that Lindsey was out looking for a Pokeman and that she had even sent the person who buses tables out to look for her when she didn’t return in a short period of time. Lindsey returned a short time later and when Fran asked where she had been, she said she went out for a walk, at which time Fran told her she could walk on out of the restaurant. Lindsey refused to leave and Fran called the police. We were totally shocked when Roberts Aceto (after Fran called the poiice) made a very public pronouncement to the entire restaurant that she was quitting and stormed out of the restaurant. Lindsey, in the meantime, stayed (in spite of Fran’s repeated requests that she leave) until the police arrived shortly thereafter and escorted her out. I can only surmise that the story about Lindsey needing to go home to take care of personal business was a ruse to garner support for the two waitresses and anger toward Fran. I’m also intrigued that you wouldn’t tell your boss you needed to leave for a short period of time to take care of a personal hygiene situation, but you’d release a news report for the entire community to see.
    We have gone to Kellers Eatery for well over 20 years for Sunday breakfast. Whenever I go anywhere else, I always leave thinking that the omelette was never as large, the home fries not as tasty and breakfast, in general, not as good as at Keller’s.

  3. Sean says:

    Unionville has a paper ?

  4. Jason Bramble says:

    She needs to file a discrimination complaint to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It’s an easy discrimination case that will cost her nothing to file.

  5. RANDY SCOTT says:

    I will certainly never go there… Of course I live about 1000 miles away

  6. Cyril Caster says:

    “A bad mood” is when abuse happens. A position of power, such as employer, is considered by many to be a license to abuse. The law can’t punish every wrong in life, but please know that treating people this way is very wrong. The two women obviously have kindness and consideration to spare. Be like them.

  7. Gio frezzo says:

    This whole article is bs. The best you could find to report?

  8. Richard V Ruoss says:

    You may want to check further on this article. The whole story is she was ran up the street hunting Pokémon. Then used the ruse of the other

  9. Adrienne says:

    Sounds like it could have been handled better by everyone. Why is this public knowledge though? All 3 people need to drop their pride . I’m a woman and wouldn’t know a walk meant that….

  10. Tom says:

    My wife and I have been an off and on customer of Kellers over the past 14 years. Fran cooks well, but let’s just leave it at that.

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