The former CFO for Proskauer Rose, a large law firm in New York, has sued it for disability discrimination. The former CFO, Elly Rosenthal, claims that the law firm demoted her and then fired her because she had breast cancer that required her to take medical leave. Ms. Rosenthal, who had served as the firm’s CFO since 1992, took several weeks of medical leave in 2008 while she underwent two surgeries to treat her cancer. According to Ms. Rosenthal, some in the law firm were supportive of her but others were not. So, when she was fired she felt “blindsided.” “I don’t know how we went from ‘Elly, get well and there will always be a place for you’ to ‘By the way, be out of here in three days,'” said Ms. Rosenthal.
Interestingly, a large part of Proskauer Rose’s business involves defending employers from employment discrimination lawsuits. Now, it has to defend itself.
If her allegations are true, Ms. Rosenthal is certainly not the first person to need medical leave from work to fight a life threatening disease and then lose her job because of it. The Maine Employee Rights Group has represented employees who have faced similar circumstances. If your employer is discriminating against you because you need to take medical leave due to a serious illness or disability, you should contact the Maine Employee Rights Group to learn about your rights.