(Photo: Screen Grab via CBS 2)
S37, an Illinois management company, is now facing the wrath of the public and a lawsuit from one its former employees after it was recently revealed they fired her less than two hours after her doctors told them she would need some time off from work for cancer treatment.
Elisa Madonia told CBS 2 that she thought things couldn't have gotten any worse when her doctors told her she had stage three esophageal cancer last October, but she was wrong.
Less than two hours after S37 management -- where she had worked for four years -- received a letter from her doctors explaining she would need some significant time off for chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, she was fired.
"Not only am I being hit with a disease, I have cancer, now you take my job away from me?" said Madonia.
Madonia explained that her boss simply called her into the office and then suggested that she resign from the job with an offer to pay six months of COBRA if she signed a separation letter. They ended her employment with the company after that, and now she has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against the company.
"For the worst possible moment of her life, being diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer, that was just the cruelest thing I ever heard," Kathleen Derosa, Madonia's caregiver told CBS 2.
"I think they had an obligation to sit down with Elise and say, hey, what can we do here? 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," explained Madonia's attorney Eugene Hollander.
Brian Garelli, S37's attorney told CBS 2 that he hadn't seen the lawsuit at the time of their report so was unable to comment.
Members of the public who have since learned of the company's treatment of Madonia have unleashed their anger at the company on Yelp, where they have rated the company with just one out of a possible five stars.
"NEGATIVE STARS! You're apparently some sick, heartless, bastards. Firing an employee for getting cancer?! I Hope you lose EVERYTHING to her in court," wrote Matt P. of Sacramento, Calif.
"The persons responsible for S37 are some of the worst examples of human beings on the planet. You could have thought this through, but you are morally bankrupt. Why would you ever want to do business with a company that throws away their employees within two hours of a cancer diagnosis?" noted James D. of Sonora, Calif. "I cannot understand why anyone would want to continue to work there after they see how their fellow sick employee was treated," he added.
"Could not believe the callousness this company shows in firing a woman just after she's diagnosed with cancer. Race to the bottom line - hopefully you'll be out of business soon. Pathetic jerks. You could have worked with her to develop a schedule that was mutually beneficial. Instead you toss her aside like so much garbage," wrote Mike A. from Illinois.
Madonia reportedly had surgery two weeks ago after months of treatment and she is expected to be released from the hospital this week.