Former assistant who filed discrimination suit resigns in North Smithfield

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The town employee who filed a lawsuit against Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski in 2022 alleging employment discrimination submitted a letter of resignation in North Smithfield and is no longer working for the town.

Donna Rovedo sent an email resignation to Tax Assessor Jennifer St. George and Finance Director Antony St. Onge on Thursday, Jan. 25. Rovedo noted the effective date of her resignation was Feb. 8 and asks to use her PTO hours as her notice. She did not return to Town Hall after submitting the notice, noting that another employee will pick up her personal items and that her key will be left in the drop box.

“I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused the department,” she notes.

Rovedo, who served as Zwolenski’s administrative assistant from December of 2020 through March of 2022, filed a suit in U.S. District Court in that same October alleging employment discrimination as a result of what she said was inappropriate conduct by the administrator. The suit filed in U.S. District Court seeks compensation for damages as a result of violation of the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act, the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Rovedo, a Massachusetts resident, first began working for the town in June of 2020. Zwolenski became her immediate supervisor when he was sworn into office in December of that year, with Rovedo to work as his direct assistant. She has alleged there was inappropriate conduct in Zwolenski’s office in the form of sexualized language and jokes.

Rovedo moved to the position of deputy assessor in North Smithfield’s tax office in March of 2022, and the suit states that she was forced to transfer due to an oppressive work environment caused by Zwolenski’s behavior, and that she suffered emotional distress.

The town is represented by attorneys with Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust in the civil rights suit, which remains pending before Judge John Mcconnell. Rovedo is represented by Providence-based Attorney David Cass.

According to online records, Rovedo also works as an agent with Franklin-based Costello Realty.

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