Suit filed against blood bank after sick woman fired

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against the Blood Bank of Hawaii claiming it wrongfully fired an employee battling cancer after she ran out of sick days.

Jane Magaoay began working for the nonprofit as a laboratory assistant in 2012 and was diagnosed with breast cancer two years later.

Magaoay took time off work for chemotherapy treatment and was fired because she went over the blood bank’s 12-week maximum leave policy, according to the lawsuit.

The action is a violation of federal law because the blood blank failed to provide Magaoay with additional leave following her cancer diagnosis, EEOC Honolulu Director Glory Gervacio Saure said.

An investigation found two other blood bank employees had been fired under similar circumstances. Those employees both took time off to have surgery.

“Every individual has a disability that’s unique to themselves, so that’s why the employer has to work with that individual — see what kind of accommodation they would need with respect to their disability,” said Saure.

The Blood Bank of Hawaii follows all Equal Employment Opportunity principles and adheres to federal and state laws, said President and CEO Kim-Anh Nguyen.

“We are committed to resolving the lawsuit and ensuring all BBH employees are duly protected under the applicable laws,” he said.