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Retailer CEO fired because she had breast cancer, claim states

Three months after informing board members that she had breast cancer and would be undergoing treatment, the CEO of Tuesday Morning Corp. was fired. Not only has she had to battle cancer over the past few months, but now the woman is also fighting to get her job back, which she says she never should have been fired from.

Tuesday Morning is a discount retailer for home goods. The company has more than 800 locations in the U.S., including in California. Board members claim that the woman was fired because the company needed to go in a different direction with new leadership in order to improve its business. However, the former CEO believes that she was wrongfully terminated as a result of her health problems. A disability discrimination claim was filed last week by the woman.

The ousted CEO says that she informed the company's board in March that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She wanted to tell the board about her condition because she knew that her appearance would change as a result of treatments. She didn't want the board to speculate about what was going on with her health.

Shortly after disclosing her cancer, the woman's claim states that the board began to treat the woman differently in the workplace. The board began communicating with the woman's subordinates rather than discussing business matters directly with her. The woman was fired in June.

The board says that Tuesday Morning did not violate any employment laws by firing the woman. The woman's attorney says that it is not uncommon for employees to lose their jobs shortly after disclosing that they have cancer, especially when employees are in high-ranking positions. Sometimes companies fear that a business will become weak when employees get sick, and before allowing an employee to recover, some employers overreact and choose to fire them.

The woman hopes to get her job back and to recover compensation for damages, but she also wants to make sure that other employers understand that it is unlawful to fire employees simply because they have cancer or other health problems. Folks deserve to receive as much support as possible during times of poor health, even from their employers.

Source: Huffington Post, "Ousted CEO sues Tuesday Morning for discrimination," August 3, 2012

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