Angelina Pivarnick, a Staten Island EMT best known as one of the stars of the MTV series “Jersey Shore," alleged in a federal lawsuit Wednesday that she was subject to sexual discrimination and harassment by male supervisors at the New York City Fire Department.
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In a complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court, Pivarnick, 33, claims one of the supervisors, FDNY Lt. Jonathan Schechter, subjected her to unwanted sexual advances, as well as graphic remarks and text messages about her appearance. The incidents allegedly occurred from 2017 to 2018, while Pivarnick worked at the FDNY’s emergency medical services (EMS) station in Rossville, Staten Island.
“For more than a year, she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by two of her supervisors, both of whom are lieutenants within the New York City Fire Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services,” the suit says. “The sexual harassment that Pivarnick experienced included repeated and unwelcome sexual advances, degrading comments about her body, vulgar sexual comments, inappropriate questions about her private relationships and, in one instance, the groping of an intimate part of her body without her consent.”
During one incident in May 2018, Schechter is alleged to have “grabbed and squeezed her buttock” and “made contact with her vaginal area,” according to the lawsuit.
“Like all women, I am entitled to be treated with dignity and respect at work,” Pivarnick said in a statement to the New York Post, which first reported the lawsuit. “And I should not have to accept unwanted sexual advances, crude comments about my body or physical assault.”
Pivarnick alleges that Schechter engaged in retaliatory measures when she rebuffed his advances, such as poor work assignments.
The reality television star is suing the City of New York and Schechter himself for damages. She also filed formal complaints with FDNY’s equal employment opportunity office.
A New York City Law Department spokesperson said the case was under review.
Pivarnick appeared as a cast member on the first two seasons of “Jersey Shore” and returned to the series for its reboot, “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.” She also starred on the VH1 reality series “Couples Therapy.