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Register Guard Reporter Fired While On Pregnancy Disability Leave

Desmond O'Boyle

The Register Guard Newspaper in Eugene has fired pregnant reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent. About 30 people, including former and current employees, met in front of the newspaper’s headquarters  Thursday to show support. 

Arts and culture reporter Markstrom Nugent says the reason for her dismissal was insubordination for ‘checking an email’ while she was on pregnancy disability leave. She says she was unaware of any issues between her and the paper prior to her pregnancy. The Register Guard declined to comment. In an emotional statement, Markstrom Nugent says this is the last thing she wanted.

Markstrom Nugent: “I was so naive that I thought I could just tell them about my pregnancy as early as possible so that they would be able to plan for it. I never hid it and three weeks later I submitted my paperwork for maternity leave, this started. And it was really shocking; it felt like an awful betrayal.”

Markstrom Nugent was hired by the newspaper in 2002. Says she is seeking legal counsel and added it’s possible the Register Guard violated her union contract. Despite the potential legal battle ahead, she says she wants to focus on carrying her pregnancy to term.

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