A New York woman claims her boss made her choose between getting an abortion or losing her job, yet still ended up getting fired even after she terminated her pregnancy.
The ultimatum is at the heart of a lawsuit that Catherine Rizzo, a 25-year-old mother of two, has filed against the owner of Cooky's Deli in Bohemia, N.Y.
“The owner’s daughter pulled me in the office, and basically told me if I didn’t have an abortion, I wasn’t going to have a job,” Rizzo told The New York Post.
“It was very, very clear,” she added. “I have two other kids I have to take care of, and I needed my job.”
Rizzo says she went through with the procedure because she needed a way to support her children, but was still fired three months later in August. That led to her and her two daughters getting evicted from their home. Eventually, Rizzo was able to find a new job, but Cooky's Deli continued to harass her with employees visiting her new job to take pictures of her.
However, Cooky's Deli owner Martin Marsilio, 69, says Rizzo's allegation is “a total lie.”
“We have had many female employees here that have gotten pregnant, had their children, took time off and came back to work,” he said.
Marsilio does not deny sending employees to take pictures of Rizzo at her new job. But he says he did it to prove that Rizzo was working off the books while collecting unemployment insurance.
Reactions to Rizzo's story have been drastically one-sided - against her.
“She's looking for easy money for sure,” said one NYPost.com reader.
“She gets No sympathy from me. Zero,” said another.
There have been similar cases involving women who lost their jobs after becoming pregnant.
A recent case involves Christa Dias, who claims her employment with an Ohio Catholic school was ended after school officials found out she got pregnant out of wedlock and through artificial insemination.
“I’ve always wanted to have a baby,” Dias told Cincinnati.com. “I’ve always known that. That’s why I became a teacher, because I love kids. I didn’t think it would be a problem.”
However, the school claimed Dias violated her employment contract because the Catholic Church considers artificial insemination a “grave, immoral” act.
Dias was fired by the Rev. James Kiffmeyer, who was accused of sexual misconduct with two 18-year-old students at a high school he taught at in the 1980s and 90s.
A financial settlement was reached between one of the victims and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, according to Cincinnati.com.