LAKE WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A Lake Worth woman has filed a federal grievance against her former employer, Starbucks. Barbara Humphries tells CBS 11 News, her grievance isn’t against her former co-workers.
She says they’re sympathetic, but it’s corporate Starbucks that she says fired her while she is still struggling with cancer.
On her 31st birthday last May this single mother of two got a diagnosis that women dread; breast cancer. “It’s terrifying,” she told CBS 11 News adding, ” It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”
And months later, following a double mastectomy, Barbara Humphries received another dire diagnosis that cancer had spread to her bloodstream. She missed nearly a year of work, using up all of her medical leave, while enduring two different chemo regimens.
And then she received word that Starbucks’ insurance company was denying her request for an extended leave of accommodation unpaid leave. “I feel like every time I get ahead something brings me down and it’s not fair,” she said.
A little more than three weeks after that request was denied — she claims a representative from the Starbucks corporate office called with the worst news possible. “Her exact words were, ‘It’s with a heavy heart that I have to tell you we’re going to terminate your job.'”
Angry and upset, Humphries filed a federal EEOC disability discrimination complaint against Starbucks, ” Because I dedicated so many years of my life to them I thought … I don’t know, it’s a lot (of time).”
Starbucks refers to its employees as partners, and in a prepared statement told CBS 11,
Out of respect for our partners’ privacy, we do not publically disclose specific details about current and former partners’ individual employment.
The company also said it wasn’t prepared to discuss the EEOC complaint.
Humphries says she lost all the company-supported insurance on herself and her kids. She did extend her medical insurance through COBRA, but it’s nearly three times what it cost while she was employed. “I kind of felt obligated to take the COBRA, because what else are you going to do when you have hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills?”
And she still faces radiation for the stubborn cancer cells still in her system.
Some acquaintances with the Tarrant County Libertarians are holding fund-raiser on her behalf next week. It will be Thursday in Bedford at the Twisted Root form 7-10pm.