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Employee Requests Medical Leave After Double Mastectomy, Gets Terminated

Laura Garcia worked as a billing specialist for Touchstone Imagining, a nationwide company that performs MRIs, X-rays, CAT scans, ultrasounds and mammograms. The grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in October. So, Garcia requested a leave of absence in order to recover from a double mastectomy.

Scheduled for Tuesday, she requested two months to recover from her surgery. Yet, she said it led to her termination instead.

Garcia stated, “At that time, I was told I would have to resign or be terminated since I had only been there for six months. I asked if there was anything I could do in order to keep my job and [human resources] said if she gave you an exception, then she would have to give everybody else an exception."

Garcia’s local supervisor sent an email to the company’s corporate leadership asking for clarification on the leave of absence policy. Garcia says the response states “The information from the handbook stating that she’s not eligible for LOA (Leave of Absence) or FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) suffices. Upon her last day please complete a termination form.”

Garcia's employment attorney, Paula Greisen, says that the company's conduct seems "illegal." The reason is that although Garcia doesn’t qualify for the FMLA because she had been employed less than 12 months, she does qualify for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Greisen told Fox31, “It’s really somebody who’s being kicked while they’re down. [Termination] not only takes away a person’s income but at a critical time in person’s life, they take aware her access to health insurance."

CEO Pat Rice said, “We believe that we have made it clear to Laura that we look forward to her returning to work at Touchstone following her recovery. ‘Fired’ is certainly not the correct term which would infer that she has a performance problem and in which case we would not welcome her back."

Rice went on to share that the company is “happy to accommodate Laura’s personal preferences to remain an active employee at this time. We originally processed her absence in an administrative way that we felt was consistent with Federal guideline, knowing all long that she had a workplace family to come back to as soon as she was able. This was not communicated clearly, and we sincerely apologize.”

The company's current statement came hours after Garcia applied for Medicaid to pay for the surgery.

Photo: Youtube

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