News

Student claims discrimination

It was the job of her dreams; until it started.
Sophomore Nicole Pytel, 19, is suing the school for alleged sexual discrimination and harassment on the job while she worked as equipment manager for the football team from August 2000 until February 2001.
Pytel was removed from her job last February nearly one hour after filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC].
According to the suit, several attempts to ask her former boss, Bobby Revilla, to stop coworkers’ “disgusting and offensive” behavior went unheard.
Revilla told the Hurricane there’s more to the story than the 51-page lawsuit illustrates, but declined to comment further.
University spokeswoman Margot Winick said Pytel was offered another job shortly after losing her job at the equipment room.
As far as the charges against the school, “we don’t discuss pending litigation,” said Winick.
According to the plaintiff, male equipment managers frequently commented on the size of her breasts, told her she should wear thong panties and simulated masturbation while following her around the field.
During a Rutgers road trip, Pytel alleges Revilla embarrassed her in front of the staff by suggesting “maybe if we get you to drink something, you will tell us what you and Mark [her boyfriend]have done in bed.”
Revilla referred to Pytel and a colleague Lisa Klein as “helpers,” rather than “managers” according to the lawsuit Pytel filed.
Furthermore, the suit claims the two female equipment managers got paid less than their male counterparts who were assigned more stringent tasks.
Klein declined to comment on Pytel’s allegations or the time the two worked at the equipment room.
“I’m still working there, and I’m extremely happy with my job,” Klein told the Hurricane.
Pay was also an issue. Pytel claims she was making half of what one male student working the same post earned.
“He [Revilla] explained there was no set amount one could get paid, and that pay was at his discretion based upon how he felt about the person doing the job,” according to the suit.
When matters worsened during a trip to New Orleans, which Pytel described as “probably the worst week of her life,” she approached team chaplain Beau Jones for help.
On New Years Eve, 2000, Pytel’s parents faxed a note to Revilla that read: “Harassment must stop. Legal Protection pending for both girls.”
On Feb. 23, 2001 the plaintiff’s attorney faxed the university a copy of the EEOC charge of discrimination.
Forty-six minutes later UM responded saying she was being removed from her job, and would be placed at another position upon returning to school, according to Pytel’s lawsuit.
That promise was not kept, according to Jane Pytel, Nicole’s mother, who told the Hurricane an initial offer to get hired as a work-study at the School of Communication fell through because the sum of financial and scholarship aid Nicole was receiving made her ineligible for the position.
“She’s been going through living hell,” she told the Hurricane. “On the other hand, she felt this is a story that needs to be told.”
No date has been set for trial as yet.

January 25, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.