Atlanta >Parkside Management Co.
Firm ordered abortion, ex-employee says
Atlanta Journal Constitution ^ | 8/4/2005 | ERNIE SUGGS
Posted on Friday, August 05, 2005 6:45:37 PM by markomalley
Because of various health issues, April Thompson said she had reason to believe she might never have a child.
When she got pregnant, the joy she wanted to share with her employer quickly turned sour when, she said, her boss demanded that she get an abortion or risk losing her job.
Thompson's attorney, Ed Buckley, said the woman eventually was fired by Piedmont Management Associates, a homeowners association management firm, for refusing to get the abortion.
Thompson recently filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court against the company and its president, Celia Ebert, on grounds of discrimination and emotional duress. "We believe that the conduct of forcing a women to get an abortion falls into intentional infliction of emotional distress," Buckley said.
Ebert's attorney, Benjamin I. Fink, said his client would not comment on the lawsuit.
"Ms. Ebert and Piedmont Management categorically deny Ms. Thompson's allegations," Fink said in a statement. "Piedmont Management is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its employment practices."
Thompson could not be reached for comment. Buckley said she is on doctor-ordered bed rest and is due to deliver in the fall.
According to the suit, Thompson began working at Piedmont Management Associates in April 2002 and was promoted to closing director and director of administrative services in fall 2003. Buckley said things were going so well for Thompson that in May 2004, Ebert gave her a loan with the promise that a raise was forthcoming. In June, she got the raise and began paying back the loan, Buckley said.
But on a personal level, Thompson was suffering from endometriosis, and a doctor recommended a hysterectomy to handle the condition, which can lead to severe pain and infertility.
Thompson, 30, sought a second opinion from a fertility doctor and decided on laparoscopy surgery. According to the lawsuit, when Ebert found out Thompson was seeing a fertility doctor, she told her she was "worried that she was trying to get pregnant."
"If you get pregnant, you will have to move because I am not putting up with any babies around here and you also won't have a job," the lawsuit says Ebert told Thompson. "The guys and I do not even hire single mothers because of the problems. I know you have some great delusion that you will be a great mother, but you won't — you can't even take care of your dog."
In December 2004, Thompson's doctor told her laparoscopy surgery did not address her medical condition and recommended the hysterectomy. Thompson said Ebert agreed to give her medical and vacation time for the procedure. On Jan. 24, Thompson went in to schedule her hysterectomy and was told she was pregnant. According to the lawsuit, when Ebert found out, she demanded that Thompson get an abortion.
Fink, Ebert's attorney, said Ebert "and Piedmont Management intend to vigorously defend Ms. Thompson's claims and are confident that through the legal process Ms. Thompson's allegations will be shown to be completely false."
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