Dental Practice Sued after Firing Cancer Patient

A New York City dental practice is being sued by its former front desk manager for failing to accommodate her cancer treatments and symptoms and terminating her employment.

Anna Marie Scorsonelli was hired by Michael Szabutura, D.D.S. as a front desk manager in October 2005, according to the complaint. She claims to have “consistently exceeded performance expectations, earning praise and commendations from patients, doctors and staff members” and receiving a number of raises because of her strong work performance.

In March 2017 the practice was taken over by Frank DeCicco, who assured existing staff members that their jobs were secure for the coming year. Scorsonelli continued as a front desk manager.

In January 2017 Scorsonelli was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She claims that, despite her illness, she “made ever effort to attend work when she was physically able and scheduled her doctor appointments and chemotherapy treatments on her regular days off work, so to minimally impact other staff members and the Practice,” the complaint states.

Scorsonelli claims she continued to show up for work even when ill with the aftereffects of chemotherapy and made sure her work was completed on time.

On April 28, 2017 Scorsonelli began a term of sick leave because she was suffering flu-like symptoms caused by her cancer. She informed the practice that she would return to work as soon as possible, according to the complaint.

Two weeks later DiCicco called her to tell her he’d found someone else to take over her position. According to the complaint, when Scorsonelli reminded him of his promise to keep everyone on board for a year, he “callously replied, ‘well things change’ then summarily terminated her employment.”

Scorselli contends that the termination “constituted a failure to accommodate” and the actions were “intentional and in reckless disregard” for her health and wellbeing.

Scorselli is represented by Liane Fisher of New York City who brought the case in the Southern District of New York.

 Image Source: Sarah Meis (Flickr)