Christian-based Company Chick-Fil-A Demotes Breast Cancer Survivor After Medical Leave For Double Mastectomy (VIDEO)

Recently, a Chick-fil-A employee from Colorado has come forward with allegations that the Christian-based fast food company has not only cut her insurance, but demoted her after she went on medical leave for a double mastectomy.

Daphne Richards thought she had found the perfect company when she first began working for Chick-fil-A. Having recently gone through a divorce and faced with the task of supporting her two children, the restaurant’s values and healthcare coverage were well-aligned with her family’s needs. Richards said:

“I lived in Indiana my entire life, and I relocated for this job. I could move up the ladder, and the owner told me ‘Maybe someday, you could own your own store.” [source]

Richards began working for the Larkridge Chick-fil-A in Thornton toward the end of 2013, starting as a shift manager. Things were going well, until Richards received some devastating news in May – she was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. It would take a bilateral mastectomy and a recovery period of several weeks for Richards to get back to full health and be able to work again.

At first, Chick-fil-A seemed supportive and understanding of Richards’ situation. Frederick Schaefer, the attorney for Chick-fil-A at Larkridge, said:

“Even though she didn’t qualify for continuing benefits during her work hiatus under the Family Medical Leave Act, the store continued to pay for her health insurance coverage during her medical leave.” [source]

However, the store’s attitude seemed to change last week when Richards was given permission from her doctor to return to work. Richards received the unexpected news from store owner Barrie Goettsche that she was being demoted and would not receive healthcare benefits.

“She said, ‘I no longer have a full-time management position for you, and you will no longer be receiving healthcare benefits after September. She said something about reconstructing or reconfiguring the business.” [source]

Under the demotion, Richards’ workweek would go from 40+ hours to 10-15 hours and her hourly wage would now be $10 per hour instead of $14 per hour. As Richards had done nothing wrong to deserve this demotion, she believes she is being discriminated against.

“What else could it be? I’m receiving my bills now from my surgery. They’re astronomical. I’m wondering, ‘Is this raising her premiums? Is she worried about the future surgeries?'” [source]

According to Schaefer, Goettsche was originally “concerned about the effect of a full-time workload after traumatic surgery” and had offered Richards less hours so she could recover. Schaefer also says that Richards’ demotion was influenced by her performance before the surgery. He said:

“Barrie said Daphne had been written up a number of times, at least two times prior to the medical leave.” [source]

According to Richards, this is false. She says she has never been written up and even has a letter, written by Goettsche in April, that praised Richards for her work. Part of the letter said:

“Daphne is a very sensitive, loving and compassionate person. I know she will continue to be a valuable asset and resource to the restaurant as she gains more experience, responsibility and time under her belt.” [source]

Since her discovery of the demotion, Richards has filed a complaint with  the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Although she hasn’t technically been fired, Richards’ case could qualify for “constructive discharge,” in which an employer makes a situation intolerable and the employee has no other choice but to quit.

Richards, who was once attracted to Chick-fil-A because of their Christian standards, is disappointed in the corporations’ treatment of her. Richards still needs reconstructive surgery to follow up her mastectomy, and now she may not be able to pay for it.

“I know that this is morally wrong. I believe in my heart that it can’t be legal what she’s doing to me. What is happening to me isn’t by Chick fil-A standards. It just seems so unfair.” [source]