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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Man Fired After Wife Gets Cancer

Man Gets Fired After Wife Gets Cancer
By Lisa Johnson Mandell

Massachusetts accountant Carl Sorabella had every reason to believe that his employer would grant his request for a more flexible schedule so that he could assist his wife, who had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and given only months to live. After all, he'd been with Haynes Management in Wellesley, for 13 years, and had just been given a raise in November.

But instead of a more accommodating schedule, he got a pink slip in response to his request, even though he had made it clear that he was willing to work nights and weekends to make up for the time he intended to spend taking his wife in for treatments and tests.

Here his wife of 23 years was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer -- she had 55 nodules on her lungs -- and after almost 14 years of service, his boss told him, "It's business. I'm running a company here, and I need to make sure the department runs." Sorabella assured her that he would make sure the company runs, working at any hour of the day or night to make up the time he spent caring for his wife, but to no avail.

Sorabella says that his boss told him they were thinking about laying him off anyway, due to "modifications in workforce requirements." He thought, "you can't do that!" he told Boston's ABC affiliate. He says that he later saw an employment ad for his old job with the same company.

Unfortunately, Sorabella has no legal recourse. Federal and state laws that protect workers from this kind of treatment only apply only to larger companies with more than 50 employees.

At the moment, Sorabella is on unemployment, and his wife is on disability. "We don't know how our bills are going to be paid. But we keep telling each other as long as we love each other -- it doesn't matter," Kathy Sorabella told the WCVB reporter.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A remarkable number of you, our generous readers, have asked how you can help the Sorebellas. We are digging into it and will add the information to this story as soon as we find out and verify it.

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