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Woman Claims Wrongful Termination For Being Gay and Pregnant

Attribution: This article is the syndication source of a recently released press release

A lawsuit (Case Number L000055-13) filed by Theresa Kwiecinski in New Jersey Superior Court alleges that her former employer, Mars Chocolate North America, fired her because she was a lesbian and became pregnant.

According to a Feb. 21 news report in The Express-Times, the lawsuit (Case Number L000055-13, New Jersey Superior Court) alleges that Kwiecinski was fired in September 2011 after her co-workers learned about her sexual orientation and she was "treated differently" because she was pregnant.

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The article states that Kwiecinski's treatment at work began to deteriorate in March 2011 when her colleagues met her partner and their son during a week-long work conference in Florida. Since that time, Kwiecinski alleges that she and her family were treated differently.

Kwiecinski stated in the employment lawsuit (Case Number L000055-13, New Jersey Superior Court) that after returning from the conference she was given an "unreasonable work load" and was ignored when she asked for help.

In addition to discrimination based on sexual orientation, Kwiecinski alleges she was also discriminated a year before that when she was dealing with a complicated pregnancy. While she had received good work reviews prior to her pregnancy, she was given reviews of "below expectations" because she could not travel due to her complicated pregnancy, the lawsuit states.

After her pregnancy and revelation of her sexual orientation, Kwiecinski alleges that she was placed on a performance involvement plan that proved impossible and culminated in her wrongful termination in September 2011.

"While federal laws relating to discrimination based on pregnancy and gender are clear, the laws surrounding discrimination based on sexual orientation are murkier," said John Bisnar, founder of the Bisnar Chase personal injury law firm. "Sexual orientation discrimination includes being treated differently, harassed or ridiculed because of your perceived sexual orientation gay, bisexual or homosexual."

Bisnar explains that although there is no federal law that specifically outlaws workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, nearly half the states, including California and New Jersey, where this lawsuit was filed, have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in both public and private jobs. "Discrimination in the workplace based on one's personal attributes be it race, skin color, nationality, gender, religion or sexual orientation -- is unfair. Anyone who has suffered such discrimination or harassment can find recourse in the civil justice system."

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