A New Jersey woman who is suing her former employer claims she was fired one day after revealing she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
NJ.com reported that Carmela Flynn, 49, filed the lawsuit against the partners at November & Nunnink in Bergen County Superior Court. The lawsuit names supervising partners Celine Y. November and Laura A. Nunnink. According to court papers filed last month, Flynn also alleges that the partners denied her unemployment benefits because she would not sign an agreement declaring that she would not sue the business.
In the suit Flynn states she was hired as a part-time receptionist in 2005 and promoted to legal assistant a year later, NJ.com reported. She excelled in her role and didn’t encounter any issues until November 2014, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). According to the Mayo Clinic, MS occurs when the immune system attacks the protective sheath of nerve fibers, thereby disrupting communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The disease, which is incurable, can be debilitating.
After her MS diagnosis, Flynn alleges that “the defendants clearly, unequivocally and with malicious intent commenced a wholesale campaign of abuse, retaliation and certain surreptitious adverse employment actions," according to the suit.
In February 2016, Flynn was diagnosed with breast cancer. The suit claims that the firm told Flynn she was being terminated “because of the contents and dissemination of an innocuous email,” NJ.com reported.
Flynn claims her lawyer told her if she did not file suit against November & Nunnink, the business "would not object to her receiving unemployment compensation benefits,” according to the newspaper.
The suit accuses the law firm of violating the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, as Flynn claims she is a member of a protected class. It further accuses November & Nunnink of intentional infliction of emotional distress, unreasonable conduct and gross negligence.
NJ.com reported that Flynn is seeking a jury trial, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
Representatives from November & Nunnink didn’t respond to requests for comment from NJ.com reporters.