Illinois woman says she was fired from job after cancer diagnosis

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by CBS News

KMOV.com

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 12:27 PM

The day Elisa Madonia learned she had cancer, she thought things couldn’t get any worse. But they did.              

She says just a few hours after her doctors told her employer she would need some time off for cancer treatments and surgery, they fired her.

Madonia’s ordeal began last October, right after doctors told her she had stage three esophageal cancer.

Doctors sent her employer’s letters, about her illness and her possible need for some significant time off for chemo, radiation and surgery. 

Less than two hours after getting that letter, Madonia says her boss called her in to the office, suggested she resign and offered to pay six months of COBRA if she signed a separation letter. Then, they terminated her. 

“For the worst possible moment of her life, being diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer, it was the cruelest thing I ever heard,” said Kathleen DeRosa, Madonia’s caregiver.

The allegations are laid out in a recently-filed disability discrimination lawsuit. In the meantime, Madonia continues to concentrate on her recovery.

Brian Garelli, the attorney of her former employer, says he hasn’t seen the lawsuit so isn’t able to comment.

After months of treatments, Elisa had surgery two weeks ago.  She’s supposed to get out of the hospital this week.

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