Update: Man Gets Fired After Wife Gets Cancer
Remember the feature that AOL Jobs ran last month about Carl Sorabella, the Massachusetts accountant who got fired when he asked for flex time to care for his wife, who had just been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer? We wish we could give you a happy update, but the fact is, things are not looking good for the Sorabellas, despite an overwhelming number of supportive comments from our readers.
Haynes management, the family-owned company with 21 employees that let Carl go, issued a long statement that can be found on WickedLocal.com. It stated, among other things:
"The leadership of Haynes is confident that we followed appropriate practices in connection with recent events concerning a member of our staff. Media reports regarding the circumstances of this decision have been inaccurate; however, out of respect for the privacy of the individual involved, we will not comment on the specifics.
In recognition of their unique circumstances and level of hardship created by his wife's illness, Haynes Management is reaching out to our former employee to determine if there is a way we can be supportive to his family during this time."
No Job Offers Yet
Sorabella and his wife, Kathleen, have no comment about that statement, but the fact of the matter is, he is still out of work, and they remain dependent on the Medicaid benefits that she receives through her disability. Those expenses are mounting, however, and the couple is unsure of the co-pays.
"Carl hasn't received any job offers yet, although he sends out at least five resumes a day. I don't know if people are reluctant to hire him since they know he won't be able to work regular hours," Kathleen Sorabella told AOL Jobs. She says that she'd like to go back to work herself as a psychotherapist, even if it's just for a couple of hours per week, but at present, she feels she's just too sick to be of help to her patients.
She is right in the middle of a cycle of chemotherapy treatments and, as expected, her hair is falling out, her teeth hurt and she's nauseous most of the time. She won't know if the treatments are effective until September, when another scan will be done. "Right now, it's about living with the terror of uncertainty," she says.
A little help from their friends
With her husband out of work, finances have become challenging. Friends and acquaintances talked about setting up a charitable trust for them at a local bank in the Boston area, but they were overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork, and that project fell by the wayside. The Sorabellas are understandably uncomfortable with setting up a fund for themselves.
Generous and resourceful readers found their address in the directory, and have been sending checks, good wishes and prayers, for which the Sorabellas say they are extremely grateful, and Kathleen Sorabella intends to send thank-you notes to everyone as soon as she feels well enough to write. So far, about $800 has come their way.
The sentiment, however, has been overwhelming. AOL readers have chimed in with more than 4,245 comments and about 12,000 Facebook Likes, at last count. A Facebook page, called "I hate Haynes Management Inc.," has a rousing discussion going, with 1,481 Likes. Readers who would like to support the Sorabellos can send funds directly to them at 14 Lincoln St., Natick, Mass., 01760-4721.
Meanwhile, Kathleen Sorabella says that the couple is trying to figure out how to "live as much life as possible, knowing that I might be dying." They renewed their wedding vows a few weeks ago on their 23rd anniversary, and they'd like to take a drive up to see Niagara Falls, if she gets well enough to travel. "I hear a clock ticking in my head," she says. "But I'm a fighter -- we both are."
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Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.