Photo: Susan Vinci-Lucero
A few months ago, Susan Vinci-Lucero was the senior vice president of marketing and product management for Good Technology, and its only female senior-level exec. And then she got breast cancer. And then she lost her job.The good news is, after a double mastectomy, she’s on the mend. But now the how and why of her job has become the subject of a lawsuit.
Vinci-Lucero is suing. She says she was fired by Good — which makes mobile enterprise technology for companies — for being sick.
“They fired me,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t predict it. ‘We want someone here all the time,’ they told me, ‘not someone going to doctors’ appointments.’ They said it was bad for business, that my comings and goings are disruptive to team.”
Good says it did not fire her, and that Vinci-Lucero resigned, a spokesperson told us.
Firing someone because they are ill violates a whole bunch of laws, particularly the California Family Rights Act, which has some strict rules about these things, according to Vinci-Lucero’s lawyer.
Vinci-Lucero’s side of the story, as documented by the e-mails her lawyer filed with the court, goes like this: She was doing well at work, with good reviews, meriting her full bonus in 2011. She got sick. When she returned from leave after surgery, she was told to go home. She talked to HR about it and then things got tricky. Her boss said her performance wasn’t so great before she got sick. She was offered a severance package and at one point, also given an option to keep her job. But by the time that happened, she knew that the CEO and her boss didn’t want her around, she told Business Insider.
Good’s side of the story was sent to us in this statement from a company spokesperson.
Just prior to her lawsuit Good Technology Corporation learned that Ms. Vinci-Lucero had resigned and would not be returning to work following her leave of absence. Ms. Vinci-Lucero was not fired from her employment and certainly was not discriminated against on the basis of any medical condition or disability.
The Company follows all relevant state and federal law and takes great care to treat all of its employees with the utmost professional respect and dignity, especially when they experience personal hardship, health and family issues.
The Company is not free to discuss private personnel matters, including the health or leaves of absence of its employees as the Company respects the privacy rights of its employees with respect to such matters. However, the Company is confident that its actions with respect to Ms. Vinci-Lucero will be confirmed as humanitarian, generous, just and consistent with its commitment.
Whatever the outcome of this case, Vinci-Lucero came to Business Insider because she wanted to warn others, she told us.
“Know your rights. Protect yourself. Make sure your company is following the rules. I’m a marketing exec not an HR exec, I didn’t know about things like disability,” she says.
Had she felt like they supported her and was still working for Good, she says it could have been a shining moment for all of them. “I’m a marketing person. I would have made hay with it and how a software company lead the pack in supporting execs with cancer, in supporting women. Breast cancer is so prevalent, every other person knows someone who had it.”
While the legal documents don’t say how much money Vinci-Lucero is seeking with this suit, a representative of her lawyer told us she’ll argue for at least $6 million in damages, plus more to cover pain and suffering.
Below are more details, as filed with the court.
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