Teacher claims pregnancy got her fired from Putnam childcare center

A Putnam teacher who worked at a childcare center claims she was fired solely because she was pregnant.

Danielle Scala accused Little Feet Childcare Center and co-owner Scott Roveto of violating state and federal anti-discrimination laws, in a complaint filed Oct. 20 in U.S. District Court, White Plains.

She alleges that on the day before she was fired Roveto stated, “You guys decided to have a child, you know what I mean. You want to get pregnant; these are the choices that we make.”

Little Feet did not reply to a message asking for its side of the story.

The childcare center offers programs for infants to pre-school children at locations in Carmel, Katonah and Somers.

Scala says she was hired as an assistant teacher in July 2022, at $16 an hour. She started out at the Somers center and was transferred to Carmel.

In September 2022, when she was 12 weeks pregnant, Roveto allegedly told her that others had noticed that she had put on some weight and he asked if she was pregnant. When she affirmed her pregnancy, he asked how her job would be affected by the pregnancy.

She reminded Roveto that a doctor’s note submitted with her application advised her not to lift anything weighing more than 20 pounds.

Roveto purportedly replied that if a doctor were to restrict her to lifting no more than 10 pounds, he would consider the report as a resignation.

In October 2022, at her request, she was provided with a pillow for supporting her back when she sat on the children’s chairs and was told to use it only when the children were napping.

In November 2022, Roveto scolded her for not cleaning a classroom to his satisfaction, the complaint states, and ordered her to re-clean the room before her shift began the following day.

Last December Scala asked for a sick day because of an upset stomach, Roveto told her to work because there was a staff shortage but promised to let her go home if possible, according to the complaint. She asked numerous times to leave but Roveto did not permit her to do so.

He purportedly said she was able to work because she had not gone to urgent care. And if she was unable to do her job, she should give a two-week notice and be replaced.

Last January, her doctor recommended a 15-minute break every three hours.

Roveto allegedly reminded Scala on Feb. 7 that the new doctor’s note amounted to a resignation, and said she could not be given 15-minute breaks, she had to resign and he needed two weeks to find her replacement.

The following day Scala told Roveto that her doctor and an attorney said the doctor’s note was not a termination letter. She refused to give him two-weeks notice and he fired her.

Later that day, he allegedly entered her classroom and said, “Get out of this place! How dare you talk to a lawyer!”

Scala claims that Roveto’s and Little Feet’s actions humiliated and degraded her. She is demanding lost wages and benefits, and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

She is represented by Manhattan attorney Dorina Cela.

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