Italian volleyball club Volley Maniago Pordenone is suing its former captain, claiming Lara Lugli breached her contract by getting pregnant.
According to The Guardian, the club is claiming Lugli didn't tell them that she was planning to get pregnant when she signed a contract to play for them in the 2018-19 season.
The 41-year-old was sacked by the club after informing them about her pregnancy, before suffering a miscarriage just a month later.
Lugli asked the club to pay $3000 she was owed in salary for the time she played, but instead they took legal action against her.
In court documents, the club accused Lugli of “disproportionately selling her experience” and “hiding her desire to be a mother”.
The club is arguing Lugli's pregnancy saw the team perform badly for the rest of the season, which resulted in lost sponsorship opportunities.
"When I read the legal document, I was so angry,” Lugli told The Guardian.
“I’ve been playing volleyball for 25 years and had given it everything – they knew this.
"They said a 38-year-old woman should have known whether she wanted to have a baby and therefore should have said something.
"Not only did they call into question my professionalism but they are comparing pregnancy to illicit and malicious conduct – it’s a very serious thing.”
Uproar over club's treatment of Lara Lugli
Franco Rossato, head of Volley Maniago Pordenone, said the club only opted to make a legal move when she requested to be paid.
He also said the contract was ended mutually.
“Suddenly, many months later, we received a message from her lawyer for the presumed entitlement,” Rossato said.
“Only then did we object and so activated the clauses of the contract.”
The case has sparked outrage among politicians and sports chiefs.
Italian senate speaker Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati described Lugli's treatment as “violence against women”,
While foreign minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook: “To think that a woman today is forced to choose between a child and her career is no longer tolerable.”
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