Elisa Madonia is fighting a two-front battle. One with cancer and the other with her employer, who she claims fired her as a result of that diagnosis.
The Illinois woman is suing property management company S37, alleging she was terminated within hours of her condition becoming known.
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"Not only I'm being hit with a disease, that I have cancer, now you take my job too away from me?" Madonia told CBS2 Chicago.
Madonia learned she had stage three esophageal cancer in October. Doctors sent a letter to her employer explaining about the need for possible chemotherapy treatments, radiation and surgery. She claims that two hours later, in a private meeting with her boss, she was asked to resign and offered six months of COBRA coverage in return for her signature on a separation letter.
When she refused, she was fired.
"I think they had an obligation to sit down with Elise and say, hey, what can we do here?" Madonia's attorney, Eugene Hollander, told CBS2. "Can you work three days a week? Can you telecommute for some period of time? Instead of the knee jerk reaction of firing her on the spot. That's illegal."
Kathleen Derosa, Madonia's caregiver, added: "For the worst possible moment of her life, being diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer, that was just the cruelest thing I ever heard."
Madonia had worked at S37 for four years. S37's lawyer, Brian Garelli, said he hasn't seen the lawsuit and is unable to comment.
"I've been fighting for my life," Madonia told CBS2.
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