Renton woman claims she was fired for being pregnant

A local mom is now suing her former employer after she said they fired her for taking maternity leave.

Alana Curatola worked as an optometrist for Northwest Eye Surgeons for five years, primarily at its Renton clinic.

She told KIRO 7 that she took approved maternity for 18 weeks and the day she was supposed to return to work, she was terminated.

She said management sent her a message asking her to come to a meeting that day to discuss “overpayment while she was on leave,” however, Curatola said, that wasn’t the case at all, and she was fired.

“I was not expecting this in the least,” she said. “I didn’t have any performance issues going into the maternity leave, I had repeated positive performance reviews throughout my time there, there was no indication.”

The lawsuit states that NWES told her they fired her “without cause” and then later added that she had “mistreated coworkers.” However, multiple messages and notes from coworkers say otherwise.

“They tried to give me a few excuses that falsely attacked my character,” Curatola said.

One former coworker wrote, “They lost a great doctor and it’s definitely their loss.”

Another sent a text saying, “It’s a disgrace. And I can’t wrap my mind around it.”

Curatola said she decided to file the lawsuit because of her daughter and to help make sure no other woman has to go through something like this.

“My goal is to stand up for myself, stand up for countless other women who have undergone gender pregnancy discrimination,” she said. “I want to hold Northwest Eye Surgeons accountable for their actions to hopefully help prevent this from happening to other women in the future.”

KIRO 7 reached out to Northwest Eye Surgeons for comment and even tried to contact them in person at their Renton clinic but were told, “No comment.”

Curatola is suing for lost wages, compensation for emotional harm, and other damages.

“The law says that we get to have families and we get to have careers and so from our perspective our work is always going to be to stand up for families and women in Washington and that’s why we took this lawsuit,” Beth Bloom, Curatola’s attorney and managing shareholder at Bloom Law PLLC, said. “We really feel like employers like Northwest Eye Surgeons, they’re harming mothers and fathers and children right here in our communities in Washington and it’s our job to say enough is enough.”