By Stan Bush
DENVER (CBS4)– A Louisville woman has won a major settlement in a pregnancy discrimination case advocates called “egregious.”
Jennifer Rodriguez says she was fired 10 days after being hired by the Bendinelli Law Firm, a Denver-based personal injury firm. She says attorney Julian Bendinelli accused her of hiding her pregnancy during the interview process. Rodriguez, 21, was 8 months pregnant.
“I asked for an explanation and he told me because I was dishonest with not revealing I was pregnant within my first interview or my second interview,” says Rodriguez.
Rodriguez says the firm went so far as to ask if she was “keeping the baby” or just acting as a surrogate.
“There are personal choices and each mother is entitled to make that choice, but the problem is when employers make that decision for them,” says EEOC attorney Karl Tetzlaff. “She had the courage to come forward.”
Rodriguez contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who took up the case, resulting in a $30,000 payout and an order for the Bendinelli Law Firm to adapt to equal opportunity employee training.
The Bendinelli Law Firm did not return requests for comment.