Catherine Rizzo, a 25 year old Long Island woman, is suing her former boss for making her decide between her job working at the counter of Cooky’s Deli and her unborn baby.

From The New York Post:

“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…It was very, very clear,” she said. “I have two other kids I have to take care of, and I needed my job.”

The lawsuit itself explains that “as a direct result of this serious threat, approximately one week later, [I] was forced to terminate [my] pregnancy.” She also seeks unspecified damages for a string of abuses that she claims she faced as an employee at the Deli, where she earned $400-$500 per month. The lawsuit also says that a co-worker regularly pushed her, cursed at her, and called her “a lowlife and a bad mother,” but when Rizzo complained to management about the abusive co-worker they were unresponsive.

In spite of her compliance with their request that she terminate her pregnancy, Cooky’s fired her a few months after the abortion. The deli’s owner, Martin Marsilio, calls the accusations “a total lie” and explains that many women have worked for him, taken leave to have babies, and returned without a problem.

Does this sound on the up and up to you? The thought of an employer coercing a woman to terminate her pregnancy is horrifying, but I’m not clear on why a deli would try to throw that kind of muscle around. Why not just fire her outright? Times are tough but having an abortion to hold on to a $400/week job…what am I missing here?



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