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Non-Italians need not apply.Three former employees of Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina in Chelsea Market say the restaurant’s Italian management was biased in favor of its own countrymen.Native Italians “work better” and get more customers in the...

Italian restaurant accused of favoring Italian employees

Non-Italians need not apply.Three former employees of Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina in Chelsea Market say the restaurant’s Italian management was biased in favor of its own countrymen.Native Italians “work better” and get more customers in the...

Italian restaurant accused of favoring Italian employees

Non-Italians need not apply.

Three former employees of Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina in Chelsea Market say the restaurant’s Italian management was biased in favor of its own countrymen.

Native Italians “work better” and get more customers in the door, said the owners, Gian Luca Rana, Antonella Rana and Pasquale Sorrentino, the ex-workers charge in a Manhattan federal court lawsuit.

Even Italian customers were preferred, say the workers — a Canadian, a Greek-American and a Jewish-American who claim they were fired for complaining about the preferential treatment for paisans.

“They had a button on the computer that said, ‘Italian,’ ” ex-worker Tara Cohn told The Post.

Americans, meanwhile, were treated with scorn at the eatery, an outpost of the Italy-based Giovanni Rana pasta company, according to the complaint by Robert Bellissimo, 37, Christopher Thireos, 40, and Cohn, 28.

Sorrentino “would call Italian employees an ‘idiot American’ if they made a mistake and told Mr. Bellissimo not to be a ‘stupid American,’ ” the suit charges.

Rana allegedly asked, “How do we have black people selling pasta?” and threw an Italians-only company Super Bowl party.

“Meanwhile, non-Italian employees were required to prepare the food,” the suit says.

“If you weren’t Italian, you weren’t part of their group,” Cohn said.

The company also disregarded immigration laws, had Italian employees in the US work under fake names, allowed Italians to drink on the clock or blow off shifts and gave them health insurance without the customary three-month wait, the lawsuit alleges.

“It’s the opposite of hospitality; it’s discrimination,” said the former workers’ lawyer, Lawrence Pearson.

Bellissimo and Thireos say they were fired in February on trumped-up charges of misappropriating funds. Cohn, who worked partly on commission booking parties, says she was forced out after joining Bellissimo and Thireos’ legal action. The three seek unspecified damages.

Rana Pastificio called the claim “wholly without merit” but declined further comment.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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