Va. Lawyer Denies Restaurant Gave Employee Abortion Ultimatum

A lawyer defending a Virginia restaurant company being sued by a former employee denies that the employee was given the ultimatum of either aborting her child or losing her job.

Abigail Shomo, a former waitress at Mi Puerto who became pregnant a few months after being hired, filed a lawsuit against her employer, claiming that the restaurant owner told her that customers would not want "a belly" on a waitress.

Keith Finch, an attorney representing Junior Corp, the company that owns Mi Puerto, told The Christian Post that the allegation over Shomo being told she had to have an abortion to continue working at the Mexican restaurant is "false."

"The allegation about abortion is false. It also was entirely left out of the first two versions of Ms. Shomo's complaint," said Finch.

"[It] was only added later to support Count III of the complaint, which has since been dismissed."

According to Shomo, back in May 2010 she got a job working as a waitress at the Mi Puerto restaurants located in Fairlawn and Radford.

Four months after she began work there, Shomo became pregnant. She alleges in her suit that the father of her child was the co-owner of the Fairlawn restaurant and her boss, Leopoldo Florez Aguirre, Jr.

Aguiree, Jr., whose father owns the restaurants, was 17-years-old when he and Shomo, an adult, first met.

"The case presents the interesting question of whether an employer in Virginia can fire a woman for refusing to have an abortion," said Terry Grimes, attorney for Shomo, in a statement published by the Virginian-Pilot.

Finch said to CP that Shomo has yet to substantiate either that Mi Puerto demanded she have an abortion or that the father of her child is Aguirre, Jr.

"Ms. Shomo never showed up for a paternity test that could have substantiated her claim," said Finch.

"There was no discrimination. Lawsuits are expensive to defend, and Ms. Shomo is just hoping that her former employer would rather settle with her than pay the defense costs."

Finch also provided CP with a statement from the restaurant owners, who stated that their shared religious beliefs condemned the idea of encouraging abortion.

"The owners and employees of the Mi Puerto restaurant are of the same Catholic religion and beliefs as Ms. Shomo, and they would never dream of suggesting that she have an abortion," reads the statement.

The suit was put before United States District Court Judge James Turk, who referred the case to mediation.

Terry Grimes, the attorney for Abigail Shomo, did not return a request for comment by press time.