Hospice Worker: Breast Cancer Got Me Fired

Secretary reportedly fired six days before Christmas

A hospice attends to the physical and emotional needs of the terminally ill. If any type of business was designed around the concept of caring, it would be a hospice.

So there is a sad juxtaposition with a mother of three's allegation that her employer, the non-profit Hospice of Palm Beach County in Florida, fired her because she came down with breast cancer and could work only 30 hours a week because of treatment, according to the Associated Press. Although the story only came out now, Mitsy Tucker reportedly was fired six days before Christmas 2011 -- the same year that hospice CEO David Fielding received a 30 percent raise.

According to the organization's most recently available IRS filings, Fielding had the highest total compensation of $545,897 in 2011 -- his pay was raised for the next year to $710,537. His 2011 pay included base pay of $313,690, with $182,400 in incentive compensation and $21,496 in non-taxable benefits.

Total pay for the other 10 listed paid officers ranged from $175,267 for the chief clinical officer to $416,769 for the director of academics. The organization's total revenue for the year was almost $91 million.

Tucker, a mother of three, claimed that she coordinated home care for patients, as AP reported. She had reportedly taken a leave to get a double mastectomy, after which she needed to continue chemotherapy. That would prevent her from working more than 30 hours a week. Her termination letter included the sentence, "Failure to return to full duty after completion of Family Medical Leave may result in termination of the employee's employment."

Stella Monchick-West, who founded the hospice in 1978, called the report "unconscionable" and asked why an organization that "shows such compassion" to patients would not extend it to employees.

Five anonymous employee reviews on company information site Glassdoor gave 2.8 out of 5 stars to the Hospice. There were multiple negative comments about management, including such remarks as "upper management truly has no clue," "they will make your goals unattainable if ethey do not like you," and "there is a culture of fear and people are really afraid to state the truth or make a mistake."

Hospice of Palm Beach County gave a statement to AP:

Positive employee relations are the cornerstone of our organization, and out of respect for the individual's privacy we cannot comment on a specific case. Our commitment to fair treatment for all employees is well known in the community.

Tucker told AP that she has yet to find a new job and was unable to maintain her health insurance after being fired. She is depending on Social Security and Medicaid to cover health costs, although they won't cover breast reconstruction surgery.

In 2012, the hospice reportedly terminated 5 percent of its workforce around Memorial Day.

Company officials acknowledged at the time that executive compensation included bonuses tied partly to the organization's "gross margin" – meaning money left after expenses -- but denied that executives had incentives to increase their paychecks by firing workers.

The organization has 898 paid employees and 745 volunteers. Although it receives more than enough in fees from Medicaid and Medicare to operate, Hospice of Palm Beach County also solicits millions in donations -- $22 million over five years.

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pbflrose

I WILL NEVER HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HOSPICE OF PBC. AS A CANCER SURVIVER I AM APALLED AT THE FIRING OF THIS LADY.

March 04 2014 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
frespirit49

I had a terrible experience with Hospice a couple of years ago and as a nurse I don't recommend it anymore without a lot of checking. Hospice has a sacred mission and some greedy twerps are destroying that by making it all about making big bucks. Shame on you all....I curse each and every one of you money mongers! Doing nasty things to your employees is also pretty crappy, but rest assured "what goes around comes around". When your time comes I pray the same vultures attend you!

March 03 2014 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
welcome row

These CREEPS only care about their pocketbooks, I wouldn't knowingly let my dog go there for hospice service and I don't own one!! hopefully she will file a law suite and get a few million out of the CREEPS!!!

March 03 2014 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sharon

This is wrong it was not her fault she got cancer and if anyone has ever gone through anything like that you know that you could return to work but you would spend most of your time there in the bathroom cause it makes you throw up and also leaves you week. I believe she should be allowed to return to her job there they did not have a good reason to fire her.

February 19 2014 at 10:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lester

I THINK WHAT THE COMPANY DID WAS WRONG,DEAD WRONG.TAKE SOME PAY AWAY FROM THE TOP BRASS.THIS TO ME SHOWS THE REAL PERPOSE OF THIS [LACE,MAKE THE LEADERS RICH TO LET THE LITTLE PEOPLE SUFFER

February 19 2014 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
twoldwacs

I've know of a hospital worker that got fired when she had breastcancer.

February 19 2014 at 5:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
artdmainman

Couldn't collect unemployment insurance? I can't see why, if you were let go due to no fault of your own.

February 19 2014 at 4:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to artdmainman's comment
chefcurry1

Because with Unemployment Benefits, you must be able and cleared to work. When you file a claim, it states this on the application. Each week, you must submit a list of 'jobs/employment attempts' to receive the benefits.

February 19 2014 at 4:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Evelyn

How ridiculous that these executives make this kind of money! For what?

February 19 2014 at 4:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
notyme4gam

I can so relate as I was fired from a NC Hospice in January of 2013 due to what was said issues with documentation. This was followed by me spending 7 months of 2012 working in 2 different offices caring on the responsibility for 2 jobs. No one else would volunteer to maintain work in both office so I was stuck doing it for 7 months putting constant wear and tear on my personal vehicle driving hundred of miles weekly for the company.

February 19 2014 at 3:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Will Marroquin

I think it is an insult to employees when executives get paid outrageous amounts and do absolutely nothing to earn it. The employees who actually care for the patients, who do all the work can barely get by month to month. To add insult when an employee gets sick such as Ms. Tucker, they want to fire them and make the state and government pay their medical bills and support them. I would can the executives and hire people who know good PR work.

February 19 2014 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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