Woman sacked after donating kidney to her boss


Clive Gee/PA Wire

A woman in the United States has said she was fired shortly after donating her kidney to help save the life of her boss.

Debbie Stevens from Long Island filed a complaint to the New York Human Rights Commission and plans to sue her old company, Atlantic Automotive Group, for damages and loss of earnings.
The generous mother, who offered her kidney to her boss Jackie Brucia after she had struggled to find a donor, has now demanded the organ back.

Ms Stevens had left the company after two years in June 2010, but alleges that when she asked for her job back a few months later, Brucia agreed in order to groom her for the organ and then subsequently fired her.

But Brucia publicly thanked Deborah Stevens for her donation on 1010 WINS-AM radio, according to the New York Post. '"I will always be grateful that she gave me a kidney," she said. "I have nothing bad to say about her. I will always be grateful to her - she did a wonderful thing for me."

In the end Stevens was not an exact match, but her donation meant Jackie Brucia moved up the donor list and did receive an organ match.

After undergoing surgery to donate the kidney, Stevens says she was in considerable pain and despite feeling pressured to return to work she took an additional three days off.

When she did return to work she claims she was shouted at and berated by Brucia in front of other staff. She then had her office taken away from her and was demoted to a dealership located 50 miles from her home.

At this point she contacted a psychiatrist and an attorney, who got in touch with the company on her behalf. It is claimed that at this point she was fired.

What does the law say?

Her lawyer has said he will file a discrimination suit against the company and would seek millions of dollars in compensation. But lawyer Robert Milman told the New York Post: "Atlantic Auto treated her appropriately and acted honorably and fairly at every turn. We expect to have this resolved favorably in the legal system."

Stephanie Rabiner from FindLaw.com told Reuters: "Though it's not illegal to donate a kidney to your boss, it is illegal to pressure employees to return to work when they are seriously ill.

"Debbie Stevens was entitled to unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. She was also arguably entitled to some sort of reasonable accommodation to her work schedule, as she was temporarily disabled as a result of the donation surgery.

"If the kidney donor case is true, then Debbie Stevens is entitled to some sort of remedy as per the law."

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