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Ex-Radiology Manager Sues After Cancer Fight

March 1, 2013
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Practice Management
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A former radiology manager for a medical practice in the Dayton, Ohio, area has sued her ex-employer and its then-managing partner, saying they violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by refusing to return her to her job or its equivalent after medical leave for treatment of breast cancer.

Jeanine Gaver, 58, says in her federal lawsuit, filed in January, that she had worked at Digestive Specialists for three and a half years before a mammogram in June 2011 revealed aggressive breast cancer. She was approved for three months of medical leave, the lawsuit says. Her treatment included the removal of both breasts.

When she was ready to return to work, according to the lawsuit, she was told that her position was no longer available but that she could work part-time at a lesser job with no health insurance. She didn’t know at the time, the lawsuit said, that the FMLA required that she be allowed to return to the same job or an equivalent after her medical leave. She told the Associated Press:

I really didn’t know what rights I had.

Gaver, according to the lawsuit, asked whether she could get unemployment benefits if she were laid off from the part-time job. Shortly after that, the lawsuit says, she was fired. (Digestive Specialists says she was not fired.)

The lawsuit says Gaver worked until four days before her surgery and asked repeatedly whether she needed to train anyone to cover her duties. No one responded, the suit says, until the day before her surgery, when she received eight increasingly angry calls from Ramesh Gandhi, MD, then president and CEO of Digestive Specialists. (Dr. Gandhi has since left and, according to the AP, is involved in separate litigation with Digestive Specialists.)

The lawsuit says Dr. Gandhi demanded that Gaver come to the office to train her temporary replacement. She declined, according to the suit, saying terms of her medical leave prohibited her from working.

During her leave, the lawsuit says, Dr. Gandhi violated federal privacy laws by circulating an e-mail to everyone in the office complaining that some employees were collecting too much in health insurance payments. Attached to the e-mail, the suit says, was a confidential insurance company report about Gaver’s breast cancer showing that she had received about $83,500 in benefits.

Gaver told the AP that she is doing well physically but has been unable to find another job and is surviving on about $1,000 a month in unemployment benefits.

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