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NY Woman Fired After Donating Kidney to Boss

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 24, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Would you ever donate a kidney to your boss?

Probably not, but Debbie Stevens of Long Island did, and now she's filed a discrimination complaint with state regulators. In what is being called the "kidney donor case," Stevens claims boss Jackie Brucia turned on her after the organ donation. She even demoted her when she took time off to deal with the pain.

And then, when she complained, she was fired.

How Debbie Stevens came to donate a kidney to her boss is an integral part of the story. The two had met in 2009 when Stevens worked for Brucia at Atlantic Automotive Group. After leaving in 2010, she returned for a visit, reports the New York Post. It was then Stevens learned that Brucia was in need of a kidney. She offered to donate.

Soon after, Stevens returned to the company, at which time she claims Brucia began "grooming her to be her 'backup plan.'" When Brucia's original donor was denied, she called on Stevens. She wasn't an exact match either, but she was able to donate her kidney to someone else so that Brucia could move up on the donor list.

This is where the kidney donor case ventures into illegal territory. Debbie Stevens claims Jackie Brucia pressured her to return to work, explains the Post. But she was in so much pain she had to take an additional three days off. Brucia allegedly called her up and yelled at her, berated her in front of other employees, took away her office and demoted her.

Stevens then spoke to a psychiatrist and an attorney, who contacted the company on her behalf. It is at this point Newscore reports she was fired.

Though it's not illegal to donate a kidney to your boss, it is illegal to pressure employees to return to work when they are seriously ill. Debbie Stevens was entitled to unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. She was also arguably entitled to some sort of reasonable accommodation to her work schedule, as she was temporarily disabled as a result of the donation surgery.

If the kidney donor case is true, then Debbie Stevens is entitled to some sort of remedy as per the law.

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