Woman Fired After Donating Kidney to Her Boss

(May 18, 2012) – A 47-year-old, Long Island, New York woman said she was fired from her job after donating a kidney to help save the life of her boss. She has filed a formal complaint with the New York State Human Rights Commission, hoping for justice.

The victim says that she first got to know her boss, one of the West Islip company’s controllers, while working as a clerical worker at Atlantic Automotive Group, a billion-dollar dealership operator, starting in January 2009.

The victim then left the company in June, 2010, to move out of state. When she returned to Long Island for a visit in September, she stopped by the office. She had a discussion with her old boss, which included health issues and “her [ex-bosses] need for a kidney transplant,” the filed papers state.

The victim told The Post newspaper that her ex-boss told her she had located a possible donor, a family friend. The victim states that she told her, “if anything happened that I’d be willing to donate my kidney.” Her ex-boss replied jokingly, “You never know, I may have to take you up on that one day.”

Soon after, the victim moved back to Long Island permanently and asked her ex-boss if she could return to work there. Within two weeks, she had a job with the company again.

Two months later, on January 11, 2011 the victim told The Post, “[my boss] called me into her office and said ‘my donor was denied. Were you serious when you said that?’” I said, “‘Sure, yeah’. She was my boss. I respected her. It’s just who I am. I didn’t want her to die.”

Her boss had been “apparently grooming her to be her ‘back-up plan,’” according to papers.

While the victim was a close health match for her boss, she wasn’t a perfect match. The doctors agreed to allow the victim to donate her left kidney to someone else in need on the transplant registry in order for her boss to “move up on the list” and receive a kidney from another donor.

In August, approximately four weeks following the donor surgery, the victim experienced severe pain and discomfort in her legs, as well as digestive issues.  She said that she felt pressured to return to work on September 6th before she was physically ready, even while her boss was still at home recovering! The victim left work because she was feeling sick for three days, and upon her return, she said her boss actually called her from her home to berate her. “She said, ‘what are you doing? Why aren’t you at work?’ I told her that I didn’t feel good,” the victim told The Post. “She said, ‘you can’t come and go as you please. People are going to think you’re getting special treatment.’”

The victim just couldn’t understand why anyone would treat a generous human being this way. The victim recalls, “She just started treating me horribly, viciously, inhumanly after the surgery.” She says, “It was like she hired me just to get my kidney.” She recalled being picked on and belittled in front of business associates.

The victim stated that her office and overtime were eventually taken away and that she was demoted to a dealership 50 miles from her home in a high-crime neighborhood that co-workers jokingly called “Siberia.” She consulted a psychiatrist after she began to experience mental anguish, and her lawyers wrote a letter to the company – after which, she was quickly fired, the papers state.

The victims’ lawyers plan on filing a discrimination lawsuit against AAG, and would likely seek millions of dollars in compensation.

Even after all this abuse, the victim states, “I have no regrets that I donated a kidney because it saved the life of a man in Missouri.” She did also say that she “feels very betrayed. This has been a very hurtful and horrible experience for me. She just took this gift and put it on the ground and kicked it.”

Do you think this victim was treated fairly? Do you think she was re-hired just for the use of her kidney? Do you think the victim is entitled to compensation based on discrimination?  Please share your thoughts with us.

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