Pamela Fink Says She Was Fired After Getting a Double Mastectomy To Prevent Breast Cancer

Connecticut woman says she was fired after undergoing a double mastectomy.

ByABC News
April 29, 2010, 12:55 PM

April 30, 2010 — -- A Connecticut woman claims she was fired despite years of glowing reports by her employer after she told them she had tested positive for the breast cancer gene and would undergo a double mastecomy as a preventative measure.

"I was a great employee and I did really great work," said Pamela Fink, 39. "The only thing that changed from the time that I had a great review to when I didn't was my two surgeries."

Fink has filed complaints at the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities as well as the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that she was fired from the Stamford, Conn., company MXenergy because of her genetic testing results.

She is claiming that by doing so, her employer, MXenergy, a natural gas and electricity provider, violated the Genetic Information Nondiscriminaton Act as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Fink also says that her termination was in violation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which was enacted in November 2009 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information by employers or health insurers.

Fink's doctor told her she had an "80 percent" chance of getting breast cancer after determining she was a carrier of the breast cancer gene, also known as BRCA2, so Fink elected to get a preventative double mastectomy.

"Basically I was a ticking time bomb," said Fink. "It wasn't if, it was when I was going to get cancer."

Fink underwent the double mastectomy on Oct. 9, 2009, taking two weeks of paid medical leave. On Jan. 22, 2010, Fink had reconstructive surgery. According to Fink, the day before her second surgery she received a review that was "negative and scathing."

On March 25, she was fired.

Messages left for MXenergy were not immediately returned, but company spokesman Todd Miller told The Associated Press that "MXenergy 'emphatically and categorically' denies the allegations, but has a policy not to discuss personnel matters and will not comment further."

In the complaint, Fink said that MXenergy said they fired her because her "position was terminated." But Fink claims that another woman was brought on to do her job and was later promoted as her superior while she was out on medical leave.