Woman files lawsuit over pregancy firing

July 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM   |   Comments

ROANOKE, Va., July 16 (UPI) -- A Virginia woman is suing her former employer who she alleges told to get an abortion or lose her waitressing job.

Abigail Shomo had been working as a waitress at the Mi Puerto restaurants in Radford and Fairlawn for four months before she got pregnant in 2010 and her boss allegedly gave her the ultimatum, The Roanoke Times reported Monday.

Shomo decided to keep her baby, not her job, and sued Leopoldo Florez Aguirre Sr., the president of the company that owns the two restaurants, in Roanoke's federal court.

Aguirre allegedly told Shomo that "although he was happy with her work, [she] was pregnant; that in his opinion, customers did not want to see 'a belly' on their waitresses; and that customers wanted a slim young waitress," the lawsuit states.

"The case presents the interesting question of whether an employer in Virginia can fire a woman for refusing to have an abortion," said Shomo's attorney, Terry Grimes.

The lawsuit also alleges the father of Shomo's child is Leopoldo Florez Aguirre Jr., the manager and co-owner of the Fairlawn restaurant, and Shomo's boss at the time.

An attorney representing the defendants disputed the allegations.

"It's absolutely false," Keith Finch said. "There never was any discrimination at all."

He also said she failed to show up for a paternity test to determine whether the younger Aguirre was the child's father.

U.S. District Judge James Turk referred the case to mediation.

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