As she interviewed for a job at a sandwich shop, Kameisha Denton says she made sure to not mention her pregnancy to her potential employer.
According to KOMO News, the 19-year-old landed the job last week at Jersey Mike’s in Marysville, Washington. After accepting the job, Denton sent text messages to her manager about her pregnancy, KOMO reported.
“I am four months pregnant and I was afraid to mention it because I have had a lot of interviews and once I mentioned I was pregnant they decided not to hire me,” she wrote in the text, according to KOMO. “I need this job so that I can care and provide for my baby. I promise this will not interfere with my performance at work. I also plan on coming back to work four weeks after the birth of my baby.”
The manager’s response didn’t go well for Denton, she said.
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“It took me a minute to face reality, I was like this is really happening,” she told the TV station.
The manager, whom local reports have not identified, fired Denton in a text message, according to a screenshot she posted on Facebook. The image appears to show the manager writing “it’s not a good time for us to have someone who is leaving for maternity leave in several months anyways.”
That post has been shared over 1,000 times and sparked hundreds of comments, many of them urging Denton to file a lawsuit.
Reba Weiss, a lawyer who is not working on the case, told KOMO that the manager’s actions were “blatantly illegal” and amount to “pregnancy discrimination.”
“First of all, she doesn’t have to tell him during any interview that she’s pregnant,” Weiss told KOMO. “Secondly, it’s blatantly illegal to terminate a woman because she’s pregnant or she’s going to go on maternity leave.”
As noted by The Associated Press, state law says “it is an unfair practice for an employer, because of pregnancy or childbirth, to refuse to hire or promote, terminate, or demote, a woman.”
Tim Trieb, the Jersey Mike’s store owner, said he accepted the manager’s resignation and offered Denton a job again, KIRO-7 reported.
“I told him I wasn’t interested,” she told KOMO. “Just because, I feel like that’s just a way for me to hush with the situation, and it’s wrong.”