The ex-CEO of housewares discounter Tuesday Morning (NASDAQ:TUES) is suing the 829-store chain for firing her shortly after she told the board she had cancer, The Associated Press reported on Friday (May 17).
Kathleen Mason, who was the chain's CEO from 2000 to 2012, filed the discrimination lawsuit in Dallas. Her lawyer said she was fired during a phone call last June after she informed the board of her breast cancer so they wouldn't be alarmed if she began losing her hair or growing gaunt as a result of treatment. But the board's attitude toward Mason began to change soon after that, with members contacting her subordinates directly, the lawyer said.
The company said in a prepared statement that Mason's allegations were "without merit." The company said the same thing last year when Mason filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint after she was fired.
In an interview last year with the Dallas News, Mason said she told company directors in January and February that she had breast cancer but that it would not interfere with her job performance. Her contract was renewed in March, but in May, Tuesday Morning chairman Bruce Quinnell told her she would be fired if she did not resign or retire, she said. Terms of a severance package would have kept her from working for another retailer through 2023.
Mason also defended her record as Tuesday Morning CEO, saying she led the company to 12 consecutive years of profit. She also roughly doubled the number of stores, which stood at 415 when she was hired as CEO.
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