Fired For Not Getting An Abortion?

Four months after Abigail Shomo started waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant in Fairlawn, Va., she got pregnant. The father, she claims, was her 17-year-old boss. His dad was the president of the restaurant company, and wasn't particularly pleased, according to Shomo, who was 20 at the time. He allegedly told her that customers didn't want a waitress with "a belly." She had to get an abortion, or get out.

Shomo is Catholic, and so says she chose to leave her job at Mi Puerto, and have the child. Now she's suing for pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as violation of minimum wage laws.

Shomo's manager, Leopoldo Aguirre, Jr., doesn't deny that he had sexual relations with the new waitress. But he says he doesn't know if the child is his; he showed up for a paternity test, but Shomo and the baby didn't, according to his attorney Keith Finch. And neither Aguirre Jr. nor his father, Leopoldo Lopez Aguirre, ever said her pregnancy was a problem, Finch contends. In fact, Finch says his clients told him Shomo was never fired. She quit.

'Slim Young Waitress' Preferred?

Shomo has a very different story. Neither she nor her attorney could be reached, but her lawsuit states that she became pregnant in September 2010, after which the younger Aguirre told her that she should get an abortion and that he'd pay for it. He allegedly said that if she didn't, she'd be fired.

The lawsuit also claims that another Mi Puerto waitress spat in Shomo's face, and said that the senior Aguirre would be happy to get rid of the pregnant employee.

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Shomo says her hours were subsequently cut back, and she was moved to a slower part of the restaurant where fewer tips would be available to her. Finally in January 2011, when she was four months pregnant, the older Aguirre told Shomo that her performance was good, according to the lawsuit, but that customers preferred "a slim young waitress," and since she was pregnant, she would have to go.

She says she asked whether she could have her job back once his grandchild was born. According to the lawsuit, he said no.

She Quit, Defense Says

Finch says Shomo was never fired or encouraged to have an abortion; Aguirre and Aguirre Jr. are both Catholics too, and would never do that. Shomo quit, he contends, as she had done several times before, always returning soon after and asking for her job back.

He claims Shomo even asked for her job back after she filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and agreed to sign a document dropping her charge.

There is also something odd in the way she filed her lawsuit, Finch argues. The only charge in Shomo's first complaint was pregnancy discrimination under Title VII. But as a federal law, this only applies to companies that employ 15 or more people. Junior Corporation, the parent company of Mi Puerto restaurants, doesn't have that big a staff, according to Finch.

Can Your Boss Tell You To Get An Abortion?

Once the restaurant company made that claim, Shomo added two other charges in her later complaints that didn't require the company to be a particular size: 1) that she was underpaid, in violation of minimum wage law, and 2) she was wrongfully terminated, for being required to get an abortion to keep her job.

"Terminating an employee simply because she refuses to have an abortion offends the conscience of the Court," the judge wrote in his opinion. But Virginia is an at-will employment state, where employers are allowed to fire their employees at any time for pretty much any reason.

Shomo's attorney said that this qualified as wrongful termination for various reasons, including that making an abortion a requirement of continued employment meant that his client would have had to "consent to the commission of an assault and battery on her." The judge rejected this argument, since "if the plaintiff had consented to the commission of the battery, no battery would have occurred at all."

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The judge "reluctantly" dismissed the wrongful termination claim. The restaurant owner and his son are currently offering $9,000 to settle the claim that they underpaid Shomo. They don't think they did anything wrong, says Finch, but they figure that this amount would be less than all the legal fees of defending themselves.

"There was no discrimination," Finch wrote in a statement. "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."

Shomo is seeking the reinstatement of her job, back pay, front pay and attorney's fees, as well as any "additional relief" that the court deems fitting.

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hi everyone m the girl this report is about first of all HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA i aam NOT CATHOLIC im christian baptist also JR was 18 and 19 when i got pregnant in september i was 20m when he was 18 though

March 27 2013 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh my, what's a liberal to do?

August 11 2012 at 4:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First thing they teach you when you come here illegally. SUE,SUE.

August 04 2012 at 7:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rjen164497's comment

i was born in america idiot they where not so they should have known the law before they fired me

March 27 2013 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sounds kind of fishy to me. In a lot of states, it would be a felony for her to have sex with a 17 year old. And she didn't show up for the paternity test? Sounds like she got pregnant and is trying to pin it on the one who has the most money.

August 04 2012 at 7:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to clb45para's comment

JR was 18 and 19 when i got pregnant in september i was 20m when he was 18 though also i did show up to the dna test his awesome lawyer st up testing in a diffrent lab why the judge asked he replied because he didnt want us talking wich is the last thing i want to do lol but any who i got a dna also jr was the manager not the owner so he didnt have any money he only made about 300 dollar s a paycheck

March 27 2013 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laquita Jones

Men get the short stick in cases like this. Granted, they both should have been using birth control but I guess that's just too much to ask of these hypocrites in today's world. You don't believe in abortion but you believe in unprotected fornication. Joy. I weep for the children of the future.

August 04 2012 at 3:02 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Laquita Jones's comment

im not catholic

March 27 2013 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At first I thought this was some sort of a joke...are we living in the dark ages? Someone would actually open their mouth and say something as stupid as get an abortion or get fired???? Really...have they NEVER heard of Human Resources right and wrongs??? Seriously - beyond belief.

August 04 2012 at 12:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Andrea Rae

Don't sleep around, especially with your boss or their family members, and you won't run into this problem.

August 04 2012 at 12:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andrea Rae's comment

Especially if the baby father is an underage minor.

August 04 2012 at 4:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lifehub's comment

he was 18

March 27 2013 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Oh, those heterosexuals...first the Air Force, then the ethnic restaurants...

August 04 2012 at 12:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

He clearly told her that he did not want a child and offered to pay for an abortion. If she didn't want one, she should have been on her own after that. Her decision, her responsibility. As for her being fired, there really is no proof of that in the entire artcle. I am a woman, but I have to side with the men on this issue - if a man tells you right at the beginning that he does not want you to have his child, either get an abortion or deal with it on your own.

August 03 2012 at 11:51 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to breedersuck's comment
Laquita Jones

I agree with you but I think he also could have used a condom. A lot of guys get caught up in situations like this because they don't think to use them. and women see them as an easy mark, in my opinion. She should have been using protection as well; she is a hypocrite to me for the ' I don't believe in abortion because I am catholic' but I obviously believe in unprotected fornication. I was raised Catholic as well. You can't have it both ways. LOL

August 04 2012 at 3:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if he didnt want kids he should have used a condom plain and simple

August 04 2012 at 5:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And in other news; The Earth isn't 400,000 years old, women didn't come from a rib, the earth does to move, and free-will negates divine intervention. Thankyou .....and goodnight.

August 03 2012 at 11:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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