Chicago mom, Marzena Castillo, was fired from her job as a manager and server at Chicago's Northside Bar & Grill and now plans to sue the restaurant. The new mother claims she was fired for having a baby.
Castillo told CBS 2 that her pregnancy was a "nightmare" from the moment she announced it at work. Her boss picked on her, she says, and even expressed disappointment in her.
After giving birth to baby Eros, Castillo says that she started getting "nasty comments about breastfeeding" and a few months later, was let go without reason. She filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination, but the owners of the restaurant deny the claims.
“We would never fire anyone because they were pregnant and we didn’t. We support women who have families and continue to do so,” co-owner Cyril Landise wrote to CBS 2.
Castillo is the second mom who has made headlines recently in the Chicago area for alleged pregnancy discrimination. Heidi Spontak, a former bartender at The Charley Horse Restaurant and Bar claims her pregnancy was the sole reason she was fired.
Unfortunately, the scenario isn't unique to Illinois. Dina Bakst, a lawyer and founder/president of A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center wrote in a January Op-ed for the NY Times that thousands of women in the U.S. are forced out of jobs each year for being pregnant -- a startling statistic considering three-quarters of the women who enter the work force will become pregnant.
Bakst is one of many advocates who are working to enforce better workplace rights for new moms. Law professor, Jeannette Cox, for example, argues that pregnancy should be considered a disability so that moms-to-be are protected under discrimination laws that only apply to the disabled. And recently, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a report, "Expecting Better," to highlight individual states whose parent-in-the-workplace laws are severely lacking and to offer suggestions for improvement.
Amy Zvovushe Was Asked To Resign
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/pregnant-woman-fired_n_1260979.html" target="_hplink">Amy Zvovushe</a>, 31, had a new job (as a senior program manager at a marketing company in Connecticut) and a new baby on the way. Zvovushe says that when she announced her pregnancy at work, she was asked to resign. The company didn't offer her maternity leave. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/pregnant-woman-fired_n_1260979.html" target="_hplink">(For the full story and video, click here.)</a>
Jiongqui Ye "Caused An Inconvenience"
In July 2009, Jiongqui Ye, 36, told her boss, Xio Yu Zhang at the Wongtas printing company in Sydney that she was pregnant and planned to work until Christmas, then take maternity leave. According to the <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/company-fined-for-dismissing-pregnant-worker-20120202-1qubw.html" target="_hplink">Sydney Morning Herald</a>, Zhang told Ye that should would not be paid while she was gone and her position as a clerical worker might not be available upon her return. Ye then suffered complications during pregnancy and had to take sick leave early. Sadly, she lost her baby. When she returned to work, she was allegedly told she "caused a lot of inconvenience" and was given a new job performing manual labor for less money. She complained to the Fairwork Ombudsman, and then was fired from her job. On February 2nd, Justice Dennis Cowdroy found the directors of the company "guilty of grossly breaching its obligations and fined [them] more than $20,000."
Veronica Kloeten Was Fired By Her Aunt
In January 2012, Auckland Now in New Zealand reported that a spray tan specialist Veronica Kloeten was fired by her own aunt who said her pregnancy would be "disgusting and repulsive" to clients. The Employment Relations Authority awarded Kloeten maternity leave, lost wages and an extra $3,000 compensation. <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6282842/Aunt-fired-niece-for-being-pregnant" target="_hplink">http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6282842/Aunt-fired-niece-for-being-pregnant</a>
Christa Dias Was Artificially Inseminated
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/28/christa-dias-fired-artificial-insemination-catholic_n_1173139.html" target="_hplink">Christa Dias</a>, former technology coordinator at Holy Family and St. Lawrence Catholic schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, claimed she was fired for becoming pregnant using artificial insemination in October 2010. <a href="http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111226/NEWS010702/312270011" target="_hplink">According to Cincinnati.com</a>, the schools said she broke her contract as a Catholic. "This is not the classic pregnancy discrimination case in which pretexts must be evaluated and discriminatory intent must be divined," the school's attorneys wrote. But Dias said this contract is invalid because it isn't applied equally to men. So, she sued the schools in April 2011, and the case is currently on hold.
Jennifer Cox Worked In A Nuclear Arms Plant
<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8964847/Woman-fired-from-nuclear-arms-plant-for-being-pregnant.html" target="_hplink">Jennifer Cox</a>, 33, said she lost her job as a website manager at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, Berks when she experienced morning sickness. Her employment ended on July 12, 2010 and, her employer maintains that her pregnancy had nothing to do with it -- her dismissal was one of many cuts made during the recession, the Telegraph reported. A decision from the judge is expected some time this year.
Jennifer Paviglianiti Was No Longer "Sexy"
<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-06/justice/pregnant.exotic.club.bartender_1_pregnant-woman-bartender-pregnancy?_s=PM:CRIME" target="_hplink">Jennifer Paviglianiti</a>, a bartender in Suffolk County said was fired from a gentlemen's club because, according to her boss, "Customers don't wanna come in and see a pregnant woman behind the bar!" Her employer's attorney argued that she wasn't fired and was allowed to return after maternity leave as a cashier - for much less money, CNN reported in March 2010.
Jarretta Hamilton Got Pregnant Out Of Wedlock
A fourth grade teacher at a Florida Christian School <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/14/jarretta-hamilton-teacher_n_611590.html" target="_hplink">Jarretta Hamilton</a> told her boss she was pregnant in April 2009. He asked when she conceived, and her answer -- just three weeks before her wedding -- she was fired. "Jaretta was asked not to return because of a moral issue that was disregarded, namely fornication, sex outside marriage," administrator Julie Ennis wrote in a letter to Hamilton's lawyer. <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Media/teacher-fired-pregnant-wedlock/story?id=10878802#.TysOD4WA7UY" target="_hplink">ABC News reported</a> that Hamilton then sued the school for lost wages and emotional distress. The school asked that Hamilton drop her case and "consider the testimony of the Lord."