The woman was the sole breadwinner of her family and during her last shift, she could barely walk or talk.
At a time when workers are quitting in large numbers across industries in the United States, there's a renewed spotlight on issues such as better wages, a healthy work environment and benefits. One particular incident shared on Reddit highlighted yet again why many industries and businesses might want to introspect on the treatment meted out to employees. The post accused the company of working one of their employees to death. The post has since been taken down but it sparked a conversation on horrendous employers and the comments on the thread revealed that it wasn't a one-off case but rather a systemic problem.
The post was titled: "I think my employer literally worked my co-worker to death." They went on to explain that their co-worker had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was reeling from the after-effects of undergoing chemotherapy. They accused the company of not approving the medical leave she desperately needed, and she ended up being overworked until she passed away.
The greatest country on earth pic.twitter.com/TZqbHHMmoG— BERSERK (@srslyberserk) December 5, 2021
"I have a coworker who recently passed away from breast cancer. She was an extremely hard worker and the sole wage earner for her family. She would pull 12-hour shifts six days a week. She recently started doing chemo for breast cancer while maintaining that level of work. She was clearly not doing well," they wrote. "My coworkers and I tried to donate some of our PTO (Paid time off) to her so that she could just go do her chemo and not have to worry about money." But, turns out the corporate didn't allow her to utilize the PTOs as it was against the rules.
"They dragged their feet on approving her medical leave and she ended up working several weeks WHILE DOING CHEMOTHERAPY. By the last shift that she worked, she could barely walk and had trouble speaking, AND STILL WORKED A 13-HOUR SHIFT," they wrote. The employee who wrote the post couldn't believe how inhuman the company was. "We recently heard from her family that she passed away due to complications from chemotherapy. I am really sickened by this situation. I cannot say for sure that she would have survived if she didn't feel like she had had to work, but corporate should have immediately approved her medical leave so that she could have just focused on her treatment."
My sister died from breast cancer last year. She got it at 23. She worked at Starbucks until she had to miss shifts for chemo and they fired her. 🙃— Oedipal Arrangements (boosted!) (@6to12elbow) December 6, 2021
Lincoln Park, Chicago (Webster) store. I'll never go there again.
That’s horrible - my father worked in a poultry plant while going through chemo so he could keep his insurance. He didn’t make it and his last good days were spent working at a grueling job. What a sick, twisted country we live in where this is the norm. #MedicareForAll— First Amendment Merch (@first_merch) December 6, 2021
Reddit users called out the company and shared their own experiences at the hand of similar companies. "My mom recently passed from cancer and I absolutely believe stress played a factor. Near the end, whenever she experienced stress, she said the pain was always much worse. My dad also passed from cancer and he was the most overworked man I knew. He was so close to retiring. Our immune systems simply don’t function properly when we’re under stress all the time, and that immune system is VITAL when battling cancer. F*ck the system that makes people suffer like this," wrote u/prettygraveling.
"The people at that company making those decisions should be tried for conspiracy to commit murder or negligent homicide. Something. That's just sick. I hope her family sues the company for all it is worth. You may want to organize a mass protest with the rest of the company's employees calling for the resignations of everyone involved in the intentionally slow FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993) process and abusive policies," wrote u/LeoSolaris. "I'm not religious but.. there is a special place in hell for those people. These corporations look at people like inanimate objects. It's gross and I'm sure if they hear of the death they will shrug it off and enjoy a cocktail on the deck of their yacht," commented u/BeauVicewaffleFries.