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California cancer patient claims she was fired due to appearance

An “E! News” casting executive claims that she was wrongfully terminated while suffering from breast cancer. The woman says that her illness and cancer treatments resulted in a dip in performance and caused her to look sickly. She says that E! terminated her employment because of her cancer illness and has filed a federal lawsuit against the company claiming retaliation, discrimination, wrongful termination and breach of contract.

The woman’s lawsuit says that she joined E! in 2009, and was eventually promoted to the position of senior vice president of casting and talent development. It further says that E! profited from her relationships with Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj.

However, in 2014, the executive contracted breast cancer that required surgery, radiation treatments and chemotherapy. Although she experienced a brief recovery, and her disease went into remission, she later contracted lymphedema resulting in the swelling of her arm. Even though E! management commented regarding her sickly appearance, the woman endured the pain and discomfort and continued to perform well on the job. She attended executive meetings, made public appearances and even met with celebrities.

Later, an executive at E! told the woman that she should put a poncho over her swollen arm, and then she received a bad performance rating. She was then terminated from her employment. The woman believes that her termination was the direct result of her cancer. In response, a spokesperson for E! said that the company refuses to comment on personnel matters.

Cases of wrongful termination following illness or a change of appearance are not uncommon in Los Angeles, especially in the entertainment industry. California residents who believe they were fired from their jobs for superficial reasons having nothing to do with their performance may wish to seek compensation for damages from their employers in court.

Source: hollywoodreporter.com, “Casting Exec Sues E! for Wrongful Termination Following Breast Cancer Treatment,” Ashley Cullins, Oct. 27, 2016

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