In June, Kathleen Mason lost her job as the CEO of Tuesday Morning, a home-furnishings chain. Now, she's claiming it's because her bosses found out she had breast cancer.
Mason was ousted on June 5, shortly after the investment firm Becker Drapkin Management -- which owns 5 percent of Tuesday Morning's common stock -- wrote to Tuesday Morning's board of directors, criticizing Mason's performance as chief executive.
"Ms. Mason has led an extraordinary destruction of shareholder value in stark contrast to the success of Tuesday Morning's peer group," the letter read in part.
Mason, who had been CEO since 2000, says there were other motives at work.
In a statement released Friday, a lawyer for Mason claimed that the board decided to fire Mason after learning she was getting treated for breast cancer, according to The Wall Street Journal. Mason has filed discrimination charges against her former company.
Mason's exit package includes a 10-year consultancy clause followed by an 18-month non-compete requirement, the WSJ reports, which Mason's attorney, Rogge Dunn, cited as evidence that the company wanted Mason gone for reasons not related to her performance.
"The board made it clear she was not being fired 'for cause' and the company wanted to retain her expertise for another 11 years," said Dunn, according to a press release issued by the office of his law firm. "One has to question why she was removed from her job."
If Mason's illness did indeed play a role in her dismissal, it would hardly be the first time that's happened. Last year, a California civil rights agency found that an electrical manufacturing company had unjustly dismissed a worker because he'd had to spend time recovering from cancer surgery.
And a few months before that, a Massachusetts man lost his job after letting his employer know his wife had been diagnosed with cancer and would need him by her side for tests. The man, Carl Sorabella, told reporters that he'd offered to work nights and weekends to make up the missed hours, but was shown the door instead.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/judy-henderson-home-depot_n_1861595.html?1346951029" target="_hplink">Home Depot fired Judy Henderson</a> in 2010 after she told the company that she would extend her sick leave because of a cancerous tumor. The company agreed to pay $100,000 to Henderson, who had worked at Home Depot since 1997.
Nearly 50-Year Old 'Stupid Stunt'
Wells Fargo <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/richard-eggers-wells-fargo_n_1836441.html?1346169626" target="_hplink">fired Richard Eggers</a> from his job of nearly 7 years in July after discovering that he was caught putting a cardboard cutout of a dime in a laundromat washing machine nearly 50 years ago.
Former Tuesday Morning CEO Kathleen Mason claimed that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/kathleen-mason-tuesday-morning_n_1738344.html?utm_hp_ref=business" target="_hplink">she was fired from her position after she disclosed to the company's board that she has cancer.</a> One board member even allegedly made fun of Ms. Mason's wig. Her charges are being taken to court as she sues her former employers for damages and reinstatement.
Eagles' Worker Fired For Facebook Update
Philadelphia Eagles stadium operations worker Dan Leone was fired after he updated his Facebook status criticizing Eagles management for trading Brian Dawkins in 2009, <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10192227-71.html?tag=mncol;txt" target="_hplink">CNET reported.</a> Mr. Leone allegedly posted this: <blockquote>"Dan is ******* devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver...Dam Eagles are Retarded."</blockquote>
Smelling Like Smoke
Stephanie Cannon was fired from her reception job at the Frauenshuh Cancer Center of Park Nicollet Health Services on the grounds that she smelled like smoke at work, <a href="http://kstp.com/news/stories/S2703953.shtml?cat=1" target="_hplink">KSTP-TV reports</a>. Cannon is a regular, pack-a-day smoker who told the local ABC affiliate that she never brought her habit with her to work.
Sending EMAILS IN ALL-CAPS!
In 2007, New Zealand resident Vicki Walker was fired from her job for sending emails in bold, red-underlined all-caps fonts, <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2009/09/01/new-zealand-woman-fired-sending-caps-e-mail/" target="_hplink">Fox News reports.</a> Walker was laterawarded $17,000 for wrongful termination.
Mocking Your Customers On Youtube
Barista Christopher Cristwell was fired by Starbucks after he took his pent-up anger out on Youtube, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2040748/Starbucks-sack-Christopher-Cristwell-YouTube-song-mocking-customers.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Daily Mail</em> reported.</a> Known as "The Starbucks Rant Song," Mr. Cristwell told his internet viewing audience that cappucino lovers were "the worst of all." A spokesman for Starbucks stated: <blockquote>'While Christopher was expressing his own views in the video, the disparaging remarks about our customers and company are unacceptable and out of line with our commitment to our customers and partners (employees).'</blockquote>
Adding A Slice Of Cheese, Free Of Charge
In 2009, a female Dutch McDonalds employee was fired after she gave a colleague a cheeseburger instead of the cheaper hamburger that had been paid for, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/7080767/McDonalds-wrong-to-fire-worker-over-cheese-slice.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Telegraph</em> reports.</a> A Dutch court ruled that the firing was too severe a punishment and ordered McDonald's to pay the ex-employee the full salary for what were the remaining five-months on her contract, as well as legal fees.
Being Too Fat
Ronald Kratz II was fired from his job as a parts sorter after his employer determine that it interfered with his job performance, <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/28/worker-allegedly-fired-for-being-overweight/" target="_hplink">Fox News reports.</a> Following his dismissal, Katz filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and lost over 300 pounds.
Giving The President The Finger
Russian newsreader Tatyana Limanova was let go after she gave President Obama the finger on live television, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8918725/Russian-newsreader-fired-after-giving-Barack-Obama-finger-Firing-me-was-sense-of-humour-failure.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Telegraph</em> reports.</a> Limanova claims that the gesture was just a misunderstanding rather than an insult towards the leader of the free world.