Human Resources News & Insights

Talk about your demanding bosses: A kidney wasn’t enough

One might think giving your boss a kidney would go a long way toward increasing your job security. A New York woman says it ain’t so.

A 47-year-old clerical worker says she donated a kidney to save the life of her boss at the Atlantic Automotive Group — and was then fired.

According to a story in the New York Post, Debbie Stevens filed charges with the state Division of Human Rights after she was “set up” by Jackie Brucia, 61, her once-ailing boss at Atlantic Automotive, which operates several new-car dealerships.

The two had met at the company in 2009. Stevens then moved to Florida. But on  a visit back on Long Island, Stevens stopped by Brucia’s office. Brucia revealed that she needed a kidney transplant; according to the Post, Stevens offered one of hers.

Brucia said she’d found a donor — a family member — “but you never know.”

Soon after, Stevens decided to move back to Long Island and asked Brucia for a job. Brucia welcomed her back.

Two months later, Stevens said, Brucia said her donor was nixed by doctors, and asked if Stevens was still willing to give her the kidney.

Stevens said she was, and went under the knife. It turned out that Stevens wasn’t a perfect match for her boss, so her kidney went to a man in Missouri.

But the fact she’d donated for Brucia moved Brucia up the transplant candidate list. She received her kidney from another donor.

Undergoing the surgery to donate a kidney is apparently no picnic. Significant recovery time is involved. But Stevens said Brucia pressured her to get into the office less than a month after the surgery.

Here’s the kicker: Brucia was still recuperating at home.

The Post quoted Stevens: “She said, ‘What are you doing? Why aren’t you at work?’ I told her I didn’t feel good. She said, ‘You can’t come and go as you please. People are going to think you’re getting special treatment.'”

The negative remarks continued after Brucia returned to work, Stevens said. Stevens was transferred to another company location and eventually fired.

Stevens claims Brucia used her as a “backup plan” in case her donor situation didn’t pan out.

Stevens’ lawyer said he plans to file a discrimination lawsuit against the employer  and would likely seek millions of dollars in compensation.

We’ll keep you posted.


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