Janet Hustus was working as the Conference Meetings Director for Crowne Plaza Houston in January 2011, when she found that she was suffering from breast cancer.
The news she said, left her devastated, “When you hear those words it is very devastating. You have cancer, and you don’t know what to do. You have so many emotions.”
Hoping for sympathy and consideration, she went to her general manager, Jerry Mathers and informed him of her diagnosis and also talked about her work routine and the dates of when the surgery on her would be performed. She says that Mathers assured her that the company would reschedule her routine, to suit her convenience and that the company would not only keep her job open for her but also “support her any way possible.”
Janet Hustus said, “His wife had gone through the same thing a few years prior. He was very supportive and told me he’d have his wife call me and talk to me on what to expect.”
A few months later Hustus had surgery and after eight weeks of recovery returned to work. However, four days later she was fired.
She said, “Jerry called me into his office that Saturday morning and couldn’t look me in the eyes. That’s when I knew something was wrong. They had to trim back departments and my department was cut. I was let go.”
However, Hustus believes that was not the reason why she was fired. She believed that she was asked to leave because of worker health insurance, and the company, Crowne Plaza Hotel, knew that she would be requiring more follow-up surgeries.
Her attorney Ellen Sprovach said, “I’ve seen very similar cases. The minute an employee tells the employer ‘I’m going to have to have surgery’ they’re interestingly laid off.”
Michael Stanley, who’s representing Crowne Plaza, said today he hasn’t replied to the lawsuit as they are yet to served with the lawsuit, though he agreed that he had seen a copy of it.
Michael Stanley sent ABC News affiliate KTRK in Houston the following statement on Monday:
“My client just received the lawsuit today and will take a serious look at all of the allegations. I understand that Ms. Hustus worked in a sales-related position and was fired for reasons unrelated to any illness or disability.”
Hustus attorney Sprovach reacted saying, “Crowne Plaza has never said that prior to last night.”
Hustus has since found employment elsewhere. She is cancer free and hopes to collect financial damages for medical bills and mental anguish.
“I just want people to be aware. Don’t always trust the people you think you can trust,” she said. “I don’t have any bad feelings against Jerry or the hotel. That’s not right, and they have to live with it.”
Lawsuit Accuses Crowne Plaza of Employment Discrimination by Harrison Barnes