Former Chartwells employee sues

By By Arthur Raymond

By Arthur Raymond

The U has been removed as a codefendant in a discrimination lawsuit filed by Alessandro Visconti, a former cook for Chartwells Dining Services, the U’s contracted food provider.

The Compass Group, Chartwells’ parent company, remains a defendant in the case, as well as five unnamed individuals.

Visconti, who has extensive facial scarring from an incident in 1998, said he was the victim of multiple discriminatory actions.

One incident described in the complaint details events at a catered event on the U campus. Visconti was on a team of cooks who prepared food for the event. When it was time to serve the guests, Visconti wasn’t allowed to serve. Visconti said he was told by the chef to stay in the kitchen while all the other cooks interacted with the guests. Visconti said this decision was made because of his disability.

In the complaint, Visconti states that derogatory language was used by his coworkers, who referred to him as “The Grinch.” He also notes a wage disparity, claiming he was paid less than a dishwasher, despite his professional culinary training in Milan, Italy and at Salt Lake Community College.

Visonti said he received eight e-mails from defendants. Two of them stated: “We don’t want you working here in the kitchen” and “You know? Ugly people do not deserve the chef’s jacket you won’t ever get.”

The lawsuit, originally filed in Utah District Court, has been moved to federal district court. The U was listed as a defendant when the case was originally filed, but was removed as part of a notice removing the action from Utah District Court. The notice states, in part, that since Visconti was never an employee of the U, the university “is not a proper defendant.”

Visconti’s wife, Ruth, who is also listed as a plaintiff in the case, said that the stress caused by her husband’s “cruel treatment at the hands of the Defendants” has resulted in vascular problems, according to court documents.

Bradley Nykamp, the Salt Lake City attorney representing Visconti, declined to comment on the matter, saying “the case is in its infancy.”

Attorney Rick Roskelley for the Compass Group did not return requests for comment.

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