July 18, 2012
In Roanoke, Virginia, a pregnant waitress was asked to either get an abortion or quit her job. The waitress, Abigail Shomo, was working at the Mexican restaurant Mi Puerto in Radford and Fairlawn and became pregnant four months after she started her job in May 2010.
The father of Shomo’s baby, Leopoldo Florez Aguirre, Jr., was also her boss and manager at the Fairlawn restaurant at the time of the pregnancy. The president of the restaurants is Leopoldo Florez Aguirre Sr. and father of Leopoldo Florez Aguirre, Jr. Once he found out of Shomo’s pregnancy, Aguirre Sr. ordered the waitress to be fired. An attorney who works for Junior Corps, the company that owns the restaurants, has disputed the claim.
Shomo met Aguirre Jr. when he was 17-years-old and started a relationship with him after Shomo had worked at the Mexican restaurant for one month. Aguirre Jr. did not show up for the paternity test that was arranged to determine whether or not he was the father of the child.
Aguirre Jr. had 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,” according to the lawsuit filed in Roanoke’s federal court. Shomo chose to keep the baby and thus quit her job. U.S. District Judge James Turk referred the case to mediation.
The lawsuit will be trying a new issue in Virginia: whether or not it is lawful to fire a woman if she refuses to get an abortion. Currently, Virginia is considered a “Right to Work State” which means that you cannot be fired for refusing to join a union or for refusing to pay union dues. Unless specifically stated in a contract about the terms of dismissal, employers in Virginia can fire an employee for reasons other than their race, age, gender or religion.
If you feel that you have been unlawfully terminated from your job you have legal rights. Our Virginia Employment Law Attorneys are experienced at helping clients receive compensation for the wrongful or unlawful termination of their job. Contact us today for a legal consultation to see if your rights have been violated toll free at 877-544-5323.