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NY Deli Worker: Employer Demanded I Have an Abortion to Keep My Job

“I stayed there because I needed my job..."

A wildly unusual story is making its way out of Long Island, New York, where a woman is claiming she was told that if she didn't abort her baby, she would lose her job.

According to a federal lawsuit, the woman, 25-year-old Catherine Rizzo, was given this bizarre ultimatum when she was pregnant with her third child. Rizzo, who worked at Cooky's Deli in Bohemia, claims that the situation unfolded earlier this year.

In an interview with the New York Post, the single mother claimed that the owner's daughter pulled her aside and told her that the abortion would be necessary to keep her job. “It was very, very clear,” Rizzo said.

Here's where the situation gets a bit murky. Rizzo proclaims that she already had two children at home and that she was desperately in need of the job at the deli counter, which gave her $400 to $500 per week. Because she couldn't afford to lose her employment, she says she was forced to terminate the pregnancy.

“As a direct result of this serious threat, approximately one week later, [I] was forced to terminate [my] pregnancy,” reads Rizzo's lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 19 in Brooklyn federal court. As a result of this startling claim, the young woman is seeking unspecified damages.

In addition to the alleged forced abortion, she also claims that she was harassed by a fellow co-worker. While she says that she complained to management, she alleges that nothing was done to curb the incidents. “I stayed there because I needed my job, and I got the blunt end of the stick. I was trying to deal with it on my own,” she explained.

Following the abortion, Rizzo was subsequently fired in August. Then, she and her children were evicted from their apartment. On the bright side, she was able to secure a new job and a new home. But she claims Cooky's Deli employees began showing up and photographing her at work.

Martin Marsilio, the 69-year-old owner of the deli, denies the abortion allegation and, according to the Post, has dubbed the claim "a total lie" and "fiction." Additionally, her former boss claims she was fired because she was chronically late and that she never filed complaints over harassment.

“We have had many female employees here that have gotten pregnant, had their children, took time off and came back to work,” Marsilio said.

As far as the charge that he has followed Rizzo to her new job, Marsilio isn't ashamed to confirm. But rather than simply attempting to stalk Rizzo, he says he was trying to prove to the state's unemployment office that she was working off the books.

(H/T: New York Post)

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