Donate a kidney, save a life…get fired?

Tyler HurstValley PR Blog8 Comments

(Update: Amy’s surgery isn’t scheduled until April 19. I’ve amended the opening paragraph to reflect such. This is why you shouldn’t write provocative stories without a few hours of research, everyone. Thanks to Si Robins and Amy Donohue for the correction.)

Local comedienne and former Gannett Local employee Amy Donohue recently donated a kidney to a woman she’d never met. She took time off work to do so, but needed a bit more time than planned for testing to make sure Anuradha Dwived wouldn’t reject the organ that saved her life.

Local comedienne and former Gannett Local employee Amy Donohue recently pledged to donate a kidney to a woman she’d never met. She exhausted her sick and vacation leave, but needed more time for tests to make sure Anuradha Dwived didn’t reject the organ meant to save her life.

Amy almost used up her sick and vacation days, and donations will help cover the rest of her unpaid time off after the operation. But that wasn’t enough for Gannett Local, who let her go yesterday because she wasn’t able to make her sales quota. While this certainly was completely within Gannett Local’s rights, it seems a very crappy thing to do.

When I had to have surgery to remove a pilonidal cyst a few years ago, I took two separate leaves of almost five weeks apiece from Pearson Education. They, and I’m very grateful to them for this, paid for all my surgeries and 75% of my salary while I was on leave. While my case was a little bit different than Amy’s, I can’t imagine why a company would let someone go who willingly risked their life to save another’s. Seems they should be given an award for such.

As a freelancer, I definitely don’t have the luxury for paid time off, nor do most small business owners. But if I HAD employees, I don’t see why I wouldn’t at least keep an employee on payroll, even if I wasn’t paying them while they weren’t working. Also, doesn’t a company like Gannett Local have the resources to cover this? While they claim to be a startup, their parent company surely isn’t hurting so badly they need to lay off an employee recovering from life-giving and life-threatening surgery.

Sounds like Gannett Local needs a good PR team. I bet someone here knows a PR company willing to represent companies like this.

If you’d like to make a donation, please check out Facebook.

Tyler HurstDonate a kidney, save a life…get fired?

8 Comments on “Donate a kidney, save a life…get fired?”

  1. andrewkfromaz

    First of all, she hasn’t donated her kidney yet. The time @thefabulousone has taken off of work so far has been for testing and screening and poking and so on and so forth as documented on her blog

    Also on her blog, you can find a post that she literally just put up. It’s an interesting read…

  2. Rolf

    Usually in cases like this there is more going on than meets the eye. Maybe Amy wasn’t functioning a well as expected, even before the whole kidney story. Maybe Amy started the transplant thing, exhausting her (sick)days off, without consulting the company.

    Usually early consulting in cases like this tends to soften the companies, and gives them an opportunity to leverage this as positive PR, or internal motivation and teambuilding.

    Could it be that the kidney story is overshadowing problems Amy had with her employer beforehand? It could. Or maybe Gannett Local really is a crappy company with bad PR. Who knows.

    In any case, donating a kidney to a stranger and loosing a job in the process is heroic and unselfish and I’m sure there is an employer out there who is looking to hire people that think like Amy does. Amy will not be out of work for long.

  3. FabAmy

    Rolf –
    I informed all of my superiors the moment I found out I was a match to donate my kidney to Kirti’s mom. I also gave them every piece of documentation of every test I had to take, which totaled about 7 days.
    As soon as I found out that I was a match, I kept my communication open about everything and gave as much advance as possible on my tests, sometimes 2 weeks in advance for a medical appointment.
    I did not exhaust all of my sick/personal time and was to take a month off, unpaid, after the surgery.
    All of it is covered by the recipient’s insurance, and covers me for two years after the surgery.
    While the company was definitely a fit, the position wasn’t. I got along with everyone there and some were friends before I started working there. I had zero problems with the atmosphere at GL.
    I spoke up when I knew I wasn’t in the right place. I took the job, after encouragement, because it’s growing and there would be many opportunities to move up/over. Unfortunately, none of the positions were ever posted but people from outside filled them.
    There is always more than meets the eye, but my blog post is completely factual. I’m a Pollack from NY. Honesty is in my blood. So is logic.

  4. Ann N. Videan, APR

    Taking a different slant on this tale, from the PR perspective… Any company who would lay off an employee for a reason like this, doesn’t need “spin” from even a good PR firm. It needs better management. Just sayin’.

  5. Sally Cooper

    Just because a company has a PR dept. or firm doesn’t mean they involve them in decisions. Many of us know we’re often not included at the table, but then expected to clean up the mess. I agree with Ann – it’s a management thing.

  6. Andy Nemann

    This is a good story that really hits close to home for me. Ironically, I was laid off from Gannett here in Phoenix earlier this year exactly one week after getting a kidney transplant.

    Here I was thinking this Gannett was calling to see how I was doing when they said they had closed my department and laid me off. Nice kick in the teeth or was it a kick much lower?

    Just like the case with Amy, Gannett did nothing illegal, but it certainly boarders on crummy. I’ve been left scrambling to find full time work in editing, PR, writing etc. in an very tight job market.

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