Kidney Donation Controversy: Long Island Dealership Denies Firing Worker After She Gave Boss a Kidney
Yesterday, we brought you the story of a Long Island woman who claims she was fired from her workplace after donating a kidney (sort of) to her boss, and taking time off to recover from the surgery.
47-year-old Debbie Stevens concedes she didn’t directly donate a kidney to her former boss, 61-year-old Jackie Brucia. But being as Stevens wasn’t an exact match for Brucia, she donated a kidney to a man in Missouri so Brucia could move higher up on the list. The surgery occurred in 2011, and Stevens explained to the New York Post:
“I felt I was giving her life back… My kidney ended up going to St. Louis, Missouri, and hers came from San Francisco.”
But Stevens said she was expected to return to work more quickly than Brucia, and less than a month after the procedure, Brucia herself called to “berate” Stevens for going home sick due to complications from the surgery. The Post explained:
“She . . . said, ‘What are you doing? Why aren’t you at work?’ I told her I didn’t feel good,’’ Stevens told The Post. “She said, ‘You can’t come and go as you please. People are going to think you’re getting special treatment.’ ”
Within short order following the kidney donation and transplant, Stevens says she was constructively fired- belittled in front of co-workers and relocated to a dealership 50 miles from her home. Stevens then contacted a shrink and a lawyer, and after the latter sent a letter to Atlantic Auto Mall, the kidney donor was pink slipped.
However, Atlantic Auto Group, the dealer’s parent company, has responded with a statement refuting Stevens’ version of events. The dealership says:
“It is unfortunate that one employee has used her own generous act to make up a groundless claim. Atlantic Auto treated her appropriately and acted honorably and fairly, at every turn… We expect to have this resolved favorably in the legal system if any claim if [sic] filed.”
Currently, the issue remains with the New York State Division of Human Rights- if they find her claim has merit, a lawsuit could result against Atlantic Auto Group.