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Retail CEO reveals cancer diagnosis, terminated only months later

Going though cancer treatment is no easy task, which is why its not uncommon for friends and family of cancer patients to provide all the support and encouragement they can. However, that's not the treatment one company executive received after telling colleagues she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Shortly after making the announcement, the board for retailer Tuesday Morning -- which has locations in New York -- terminated the CEO.

When the CEO made the announcement about her cancer diagnosis and treatment, she wasn't looking to lighten her work load. Rather, she let the board know about it so they wouldn't be alarmed about a change in her appearance. Still, the woman was treated differently and fired for an illegal reason in the wake of her disclosure.

The former CEO doesn't believe her performance had anything to do with the employment decision, since profits grew under her watch. She notes that after indicating she had cancer, her colleagues started treating her differently. Instead of contacting her directly, others on the board contacted her direct subordinates. Additionally, another board member made a snide remark about the wig she was wearing because her hair had fallen out during treatment.

Since being fired, the company executive has continued treatment, in addition to serving on other company boards. Knowing this, it appears as though her drive to work hasn't vanished even with everything she is going through.

When companies make decisions to terminate an employee, they must do it in an objective, fair way that abides by employment laws. If an employee is performing poorly, then there may be grounds for a change in employment status. As such, employees deserve to be assessed honestly and treated fairly on the job.

Source: Associated Press, "Kathleen Mason, Ex-Tuesday Morning CEO, Alleges She Was Fired After Revealing Breast Cancer," May 17, 2013

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