UNSPOKEN TWO-KIDNEY POLICY COSTS MOTHER HER JOB
September 16 2011
Philadelphia, PA – There are two things that most people dread; losing a job and getting sick. For the majority of people, particularly in recession era America, those two things are a nightmare, particularly when combined. The financial stresses already being placed on many people are enough without the additional pressures involved with those two concerns.
For Claudia Rendon, that is all she has had to deal with in the last year. With multiple illnesses in her family it was already a rough year, but her real troubles began when her son’s kidney failed. That was when Rendon did what any mother would do; she donated her own kidney to save her son’s life. Unfortunately in doing so Rendon also put her job in jeopardy, falling afoul of the rarely discussed two kidney policy used by her employer.
Rendon took a leave of absence to donate the kidney and was replaced during that time. An investigation into company policies showed that the Aviation Institute of Maintenance had a rarely used two kidney policy for its employees.
“This is certainly a unique case and with something this unusual it’s tough to figure out the legal standing. It’s very rare that a person has to donate a kidney at all, never mind doing so while working at a company that has this relatively obscure clause on the books. That makes it a tough thing, legally speaking,”
said Scrape TV Legal analyst Gabe Hawthorne. “There is also the issue of her signing a document that she acknowledged she could be replaced. That may be the bigger issue, but both are going to be a problem for her.”
It’s not clear if Rendon has sought other work, or if she will even be able to find new employment with the single kidney.
“Often employers will make health issues a part of the hiring and development process for a simple reason; they don’t want employees getting sick or injured on the job. That hits their insurance and their productivity and that isn’t fair to them, but having a policy that dictates the number of internal organs is taking that to another level,” continued Hawthorne. “If she signed an employment agreement that had that clause in place it may be difficult for her to overcome, I mean she isn’t going to suddenly grow another kidney. It’s gone for good.”
Her son has thanked her for the kidney, but has not helped Rendon find new work.
“Typically the focus is on outward health, obvious disabilities that would prevent a person from doing their job. Things like the ability to process toxins through the kidney are usually not a part of the hiring or recruitment process, though laws vary from state to state,” continued Hawthorne. “Obviously she had both kidneys when she started work there, so that won’t be an issue, but the company may be protected from litigation because the policy may cover eventual loss of kidneys or other internal organs. It’s going to be a tough fight and in her condition she might not be up to it.”
Rendon is also concerned that kidney testing has increasingly become a part of the job market, given the number of applicants in the rough economic environment.
Mike Michaels, American Correspondent