Jimmy Fallon

NBC Photo: Dana Edelson

Maybe Jimmy Fallon should have a cell-phone shootout to settle this thing instead.

A former employee has filed a gender discrimination suit against Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and NBC, claiming the comedian and his network bosses fired him after he complained about being demoted when a female staffer took his job.

Here's the deal.

According to court docs obtained by E! News, Paul Tarascio alleges he was replaced as first stage manager by a woman who was "not qualified" for the job. Tarascio also claims his immediate supervisor told him, "Mr. Fallon simply felt 'more comfortable' with the woman chosen to replace him."

The ex-staffer added that he never received any "constructive criticism" regarding his job performance, and in fact "only received praise," while his successor, Niclana Tolmasoff, was immediately a "disaster" and routinely turned to him to ask how things worked. Not only that, but his immediate supervisor indicated to him that he was afraid of losing his job as well because of his gender.

Tarascio wants a court judgment for front and back pay and benefits along with unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

In July 2010, Tarascio lodged his original complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York Division of Human Rights, but according to the stage manager's attorney, Dominick Bratti, the case appeared to be languishing with the EEOC.

"We didn't get anywhere," Bratti tells E! News. "When it was dragging around for so long, we asked them to give us a right to sue determination, which they gave."

Once they got that, Bratti filed the current suit on behalf of his client. As for Tarascio, Bratti says that since being fired, he has not been able to find meaningful work in the field.

"He's doing a lot of other things now to get by," added the legal eagle. "He has three young kids to support."

(E! is part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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