A fan sent me a link to this story covered on The Sun Sentinel’s website:
A federal jury on Wednesday awarded a 47-year-old Delray Beachwoman $8.1 million in a lawsuit in which she claimed Michaels Stores, Inc. violated federal employment law for repeatedly criticizing her work performance, then firing her while she was suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy .
She claimed in the lawsuit that she was pressured to return to work early during a six-week medical leave because she was expected to fix the high-volume store’s failing operations. Within days after her mastectomy, according to the lawsuit, District Manager Skip Sand began calling Jorud asking her when she was coming back to work. She returned to work on Sept. 15 because she feared for her job.
Sand also visited the store two to three times a week after Jorud came back to criticize her performance, the suit states, adding that she asked for help from the corporate office, but was told to try not to take medical leave again.
Sand, who was named in the lawsuit, also criticized Jorud for bringing in her fiance and his son on Oct. 13 to help her while she was weak from chemo and had to shift old inventory to help make room for a pending delivery of new inventory. She was fired three days later, a day before her next scheduled chemotherapy treatment.
“They accused her of theft,” McPherson said. “And [Sand] harassed her because she missed so much work. He claimed he saw her theft on video and claimed she violated company policies that didn’t even exist.”
Jorud later disproved the theft charge, which the district manager later admitted was false, McPherson said.
The saddest thing about this story is that none of it surprises me at all, nor do I imagine it surprises most retail employees. It’s pretty typical of the attitude most retailers have towards their store-level employees. Good for her, for standing up for her rights.
You can read the rest of the story HERE.