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Michaels to pay $8 million for firing employee with breast cancer

A jury has ordered Michaels Stores Inc. to pay Kara Jorud, a former store manager, $8.1 million for firing her while she was undergoing chemotherapy after having been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The jury found that Michaels violated Jorud’s rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, the Florida Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Skip Sand, a district manager at Michaels who was accused of harassing and firing Jorud, was also named in the lawsuit.  Jorud claimed that she was pressured to return to work early despite receiving a six-week medical leave because of the chemotherapy.

According to WPTV:

Within days after her mastectomy, according to the lawsuit, District Manager Skip Sand began calling Jorud asking her when she was coming back to work. She returned to work on Sept. 15 because she feared for her job.

Sand also visited the store two to three times a week after Jorud came back to criticize her performance, the suit states, adding that she asked for help from the corporate office, but was told to try not to take medical leave again.

Sand, who was named in the lawsuit, also criticized Jorud for bringing in her fiancé and his son on Oct. 13 to help her while she was weak from chemo and had to shift old inventory to help make room for a pending delivery of new inventory. She was fired three days later, a day before her next scheduled chemotherapy treatment.

“They accused her of theft,” McPherson said. “And [Sand] harassed her because she missed so much work. He claimed he saw her theft on video and claimed she violated company policies that didn’t even exist.”

Jorud later disproved the theft charge, which the district manager later admitted was false, McPherson said.

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Michaels to pay $8 million for firing employee with breast cancer
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