A pregnant woman says she lost her job at a prominent Kansas City nonprofit because her bosses couldn't handle her high-risk pregnancy.
Carol Caron has filed an EEOC complaint against the Kauffman Scholars, which is a program by the Kauffman Foundation designed to help inner-city students prepare for a college education.
"They are this great foundation that does wonderful things for people in the city, but then with their own employees there's this total lack of compassion," Caron said.
Saying that involved personnel matters, Kauffman Scholars officials declined to comment on Caron's allegations.
Caron said she enjoyed her work at the foundation where she worked for seven years including the last two years in a newly created position.
"I loved it. I believed in their mission," she said. "Over the last couple of years we finally had kids who were graduating college and you could see the benefits of your work."
In November, she told her bosses that she was pregnant with her second child.
"A few weeks later through standard testing we realized we were going to have some higher risks because genetic testing revealed we may have issues with this unborn child," Caron recalled.
She was grappling with this news and what it would mean for her life and for her family. She alerted her bosses to what was happening with her pregnancy and to let them know that she would need more frequent doctor's appointments that would cause her to miss some more time from work.
She said attitudes changed immediately. She said the right things but their actions didn't match their words.
"The way they treated me changed substantially and I didn't feel like they were OK with any of this," she said.
She believes they retaliated against her by pulling assignments from her and creating distance between her and her co-workers. She was six months pregnant when she was told on Feb. 20 that her position was being eliminated.
She was given a few hours to get her things together and leave while her colleagues attended a staff meeting.
"That day was very devastating and unexpected," she said about the emotional day. "After working for them for seven years with good evaluations, it caused a lot of undue stress and anxiety."
She faces contractions.
With the loss of income, insurance and benefits, Caron is enduring stressful times late in her pregnancy. She's focusing on her family and doing what she believes is right. She said she refuses to sit back and be a victim because she believes she was fired due to her high-risk pregnancy. And whatever challenges she faces while going up against the Kauffman Scholars will pale in comparison to the challenges that she and her husband will have once their baby is born.
"You just can't make sense of it. It just didn't make any sense," she said. "They told me I was doing a good job and I always got good evaluations, and for them to suddenly say we don't need you. . . it's a lot to try and process to get through."
She said she wants Kauffman to reevaluate its polices and procedures so no one else faces the stress of a wrongful termination and certainly not a pregnant woman.
"I would not have expected this from the Kauffman Foundation. That's the part that just blew me away. The reputation of the Kauffman Foundation is such that you would not expect this type of behavior toward their employees," Caron said.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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