Chicago Teenager Takes Time Off For Cancer Treatment, Gets Fired From His Job

For a young Chicago man named Jonathan Larson, the news just keeps getting worse. Diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, the teenager was fired from his job after telling his boss he needed to take time off for treatment.

The 19-year-old Larson had been working as a delivery driver for Rosebud Restaurant, a popular Italian place in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. He was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. He’s been undergoing radiation therapy, but the cancer treatment has weakened his bones, and he now needs spinal surgery, according to NBC Chicago. The surgery would cause him to have to miss work for up to six weeks.

Larson says that when he told his boss about needing some time off, he was instead let go, according to Wild Jive.

“[My manager] said, ‘No, by that time I’ll already have another driver hired. Just leave, I have to make some phone calls.’ I’m really disappointed and saddened by it. It’s not something I can help.”

According to Employment Law Firms, it is legal in Illinois to fire an at-will employee for missing too much work, unless their absence is protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Cancer is one of the illnesses covered by the FMLA, but in order for a business to be bound by it, certain conditions have to be met, including the number of employees it has. As of this post, it’s unclear if Mr. Larson’s employer is bound by the FMLA.

NBC Chicago attempted to contact Rosebud Restaurants about Mr. Larson’s firing, but a spokesperson said they cannot comment on specific human resources matters. Instead, they issued a statement.

“For more than thirty-six years Rosebud has been successful through the hard work of our employees. We are thoroughly investigating this matter to determine if our processes and protocols were appropriately followed. Rosebud proudly serves the Chicagoland community and considers it our mission to treat all employees fairly.”

Mr. Larson would not be the first person to be fired for needing cancer treatment. In September, a physician’s assistant in Pennsylvania was fired — by mail — after getting diagnosed with cancer, according to this Inquisitr report.

As for Jonathan Larson, he’s given up hope of ever getting his job back, and all he wants at this point is an apology for being blown off.

“I would love an apology. It would go a long way to make me feel better about the situation.”

Do you believe Mr. Larson’s employer was within his rights to fire him for needing six weeks off for cancer treatment?

[Image courtesy of: Living In Naperville Today]