25 Investigates: Local woman fired 2 days after surviving domestic violence

WORCESTER, Mass. — Amanda Dabrowski was stabbed to death inside a popular Worcester restaurant on July 3rd. The alleged killer is her ex-boyfriend, a man she met at work. A man who allegedly attacked her just months earlier, then fled the country.

25 Investigates has been uncovering details in this case and asking questions, like how did that man reenter the U.S. with an active warrant? Many questions remain unanswered.

But Dabrowski’s parents say the system failed their daughter, twice.

25 Investigates has learned confrontations between Dabrowski and the suspect may have started at work.

Then, she was fired from her job just two days after surviving the first attack on her life, allegedly at the hands of the same man.

"I think we have to make certain that some of the things that happened to her at the end of her life, don't happen to anyone else,"  Ed and Beth Dabrowski told Boston 25 News anchor Kerry Kavanaugh.

Through their grief, they vow to fight for justice for Amanda.

"Poise, grace, feistiness, take-charge attitude. She was just tremendous," Ed Dabrowski said.

In April, they say the 31-year-old from Webster was on top of the world. She just got a raise and promotion at the pharmaceutical company, Bristol-Myers Squibb in Devens, Mass.

That's where she met co-worker, Carlos Asencio. They dated for two months before, they say, Amanda broke it off.

What happened next may have cost Amanda her job.

The Timeline:

  • Easter Sunday, April 21: Amanda was the victim of a violent home invasion in her Ayer apartment.
  • Monday, April 22: Amanda's parents say they called Bristol-Myers Squibb saying Amanda had been the victim of a violent crime.
  • Tuesday, April 23: Amanda was fired.

"You should not be fired because you suffered the misfortune of somebody else's violence against you,” said attorney and victim advocate Wendy Murphy, who examined this case for Boston 25 News.

"Two days later she gets fired, for no other reason and there's no apparent alternative explanation," Murphy said.

According to the police report, Amanda told investigators she believed her attacker on April 21st in Ayer was her ex-boyfriend and co-worker, Carlos Asencio.

25 Investigates has been assembling a paper trail of when Bristol-Myers Squibb was notified of the incident potentially involving two of their workers.

Attached is a copy of the doctor's note, dated April 21, saying Amanda had been treated in the emergency room and needed time off. Amanda's mother sent it to the company the day after the home invasion attack.

The company responded in an email saying in part, "Thank you. Please have Amanda bring the hard copy upon her return."

Ayer Police told 25 Investigates that they also contacted Bristol-Myers Squibb the day after the attack to gather information about Carlos Asencio.

Amanda was hired through a third-party contractor, Columbia Consulting. On April 23rd, two days after the attack, they emailed Amanda saying Bristol-Myers Squibb terminated her contract that day. She was not given a reason why.

We asked the company about Amanda's termination. They offered this statement:

Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its employees and workforce, and complies with all related federal, state and local laws and regulations, including those that provide protections to victims of domestic violence.

"If you tell your employer that you've been victimized by domestic violence and two days later you get fired, I'd say there's a pretty good argument you got fired because you are a victim of domestic violence," said Wendy Murphy.

And Murphy says Massachusetts employment law does not explicitly protect domestic violence victims from losing their jobs.

"The problem is, in Massachusetts, we don't have a [law that] specifically forbids that," she said.

That is something Amanda's parents vow to change. They want to strengthen employment protections for survivors of domestic violence.

Given the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence, every business needs to be prepared to address safety and responses to support the rights and lives of their employees and consumers, Debra Robbin, executive director for Jane Doe Inc., said in a statement:

"The Massachusetts State Law regarding workplace rights for people who experience sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking provide a blueprint for all businesses to strive to implement. A written sexual and domestic violence policy accompanied by training and awareness not only establishes expectations regarding behavior but also lets employees know that their concerns will be handled with utmost care for confidentiality and safety." - Debra Robbin, Jane Doe Inc.

We reached out to Columbia Consulting for more information about the termination, but they offered no comment.

As for Carlos Asencio's employment with the pharmaceutical giant, Bristol-Meyers Squibb says his contract ended a week after Amanda's contract. Police say Asencio fled the country within hours of the home invasion. Therefore, he hadn't shown up to work since then.

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