Woman who donated her kidney to help her boss claims she was fired for taking too long to recover

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By James Kay

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A woman filed a legal complaint after she claimed she was fired from her job because they deemed that she was taking too long to recover after donating a kidney to help her boss.

Debbie Stevens, 47, filed a formal complaint with the New York State Human Rights Commission against her former employer, Atlantic Automotive Group (AAG).

Stevens claims that her boss, Jackie Brucia, 61, utilized her for a kidney donation and subsequently terminated her employment "after the woman got what she wanted."

Stevens, who had previously worked as an assistant at the billion-dollar dealership operator, detailed the events to ABC News, stating: "She just started treating me horribly, viciously, inhumanly after the surgery. It was almost like she hired me just to get my kidney."

Stevens left the company in June 2010 but returned to New York in September to visit her daughter. During this visit, Brucia revealed her need for a kidney transplant. Despite not being a perfect kidney match for Brucia, Stevens selflessly donated her organ to an out-of-state stranger to boost Brucia's position on the organ donor list.

According to Stevens, Brucia mentioned having a potential donor, to which she responded that "if anything happened" she would be willing to donate her kidney to her boss, who then joked: "You never know, I may have to take you up on that one day." A few months later, when Stevens moved back to Long Island and inquired about job openings, Brucia rehired her.

In January 2011, Brucia asked Stevens if she was serious about donating her kidney. Stevens, earnest about her decision, said: "I did not do it for job security. I didn't do it to get a raise. I did it because it's who I am. I didn't want her to die."

Tests revealed Stevens was not the best match, leading doctors to allow her to donate her kidney to someone in Missouri, boosting Brucia's position on the organ donor list. Following the surgery in August 2011, Stevens returned to work, only to allegedly face mistreatment from her supervisor.

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Stevens donated her kidney to help her boss. Credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty

According to Snopes.com, Stevens claims that the removal of her kidney resulted in complications including abdominal pain and digestive problems requiring frequent bathroom breaks and an inability to comfortably lift heavy objects.

Stevens alleges that she was demoted, moved to a dealership 50 miles away from her home, and subjected to constant verbal abuse. Despite seeking psychiatric help, Stevens was fired within a week after her attorneys sent a letter to Atlantic Automotive Group.

Stevens' attorney, civil rights lawyer Lenard Leeds, stated plans to file a discrimination lawsuit against AAG, seeking millions of dollars in compensation.

Leeds emphasized: "Our ultimate goal is to bring this before federal court. We're alleging they discriminated against her for her disability, and they retaliated against her when she complained about the harassment."

The New York State Division of Human Rights issued a "determination of probable cause" that an American Disabilities Act (ADA) violation occurred, and Stevens was given the right to sue.

The case was settled privately and it was never decided in court whether Stevens was indeed fired due to her recovering from the operation.

Featured image credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty

Woman who donated her kidney to help her boss claims she was fired for taking too long to recover

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A woman filed a legal complaint after she claimed she was fired from her job because they deemed that she was taking too long to recover after donating a kidney to help her boss.

Debbie Stevens, 47, filed a formal complaint with the New York State Human Rights Commission against her former employer, Atlantic Automotive Group (AAG).

Stevens claims that her boss, Jackie Brucia, 61, utilized her for a kidney donation and subsequently terminated her employment "after the woman got what she wanted."

Stevens, who had previously worked as an assistant at the billion-dollar dealership operator, detailed the events to ABC News, stating: "She just started treating me horribly, viciously, inhumanly after the surgery. It was almost like she hired me just to get my kidney."

Stevens left the company in June 2010 but returned to New York in September to visit her daughter. During this visit, Brucia revealed her need for a kidney transplant. Despite not being a perfect kidney match for Brucia, Stevens selflessly donated her organ to an out-of-state stranger to boost Brucia's position on the organ donor list.

According to Stevens, Brucia mentioned having a potential donor, to which she responded that "if anything happened" she would be willing to donate her kidney to her boss, who then joked: "You never know, I may have to take you up on that one day." A few months later, when Stevens moved back to Long Island and inquired about job openings, Brucia rehired her.

In January 2011, Brucia asked Stevens if she was serious about donating her kidney. Stevens, earnest about her decision, said: "I did not do it for job security. I didn't do it to get a raise. I did it because it's who I am. I didn't want her to die."

Tests revealed Stevens was not the best match, leading doctors to allow her to donate her kidney to someone in Missouri, boosting Brucia's position on the organ donor list. Following the surgery in August 2011, Stevens returned to work, only to allegedly face mistreatment from her supervisor.

size-full wp-image-1263241043
Stevens donated her kidney to help her boss. Credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty

According to Snopes.com, Stevens claims that the removal of her kidney resulted in complications including abdominal pain and digestive problems requiring frequent bathroom breaks and an inability to comfortably lift heavy objects.

Stevens alleges that she was demoted, moved to a dealership 50 miles away from her home, and subjected to constant verbal abuse. Despite seeking psychiatric help, Stevens was fired within a week after her attorneys sent a letter to Atlantic Automotive Group.

Stevens' attorney, civil rights lawyer Lenard Leeds, stated plans to file a discrimination lawsuit against AAG, seeking millions of dollars in compensation.

Leeds emphasized: "Our ultimate goal is to bring this before federal court. We're alleging they discriminated against her for her disability, and they retaliated against her when she complained about the harassment."

The New York State Division of Human Rights issued a "determination of probable cause" that an American Disabilities Act (ADA) violation occurred, and Stevens was given the right to sue.

The case was settled privately and it was never decided in court whether Stevens was indeed fired due to her recovering from the operation.

Featured image credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty