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Indiana Goodwill sued in unemployment benefits case

Almost everyone in Indiana, and beyond, is familiar with Goodwill and their mission to do good for the community by "providing jobs, training and placement services for people with barriers to employment."

It was the answer to one South Bend woman who, seven years prior, had been diagnosed with the relapsing/remitting form of multiple sclerosis. But even after telling interviewers about her chronic neurological disease, Goodwill hired her and gave her a job that she loved.

She had been working there for two years before her MS flared up again. This is when her battle for her health turned into a battle to not only keep her job, but a fight against discrimination.

According to the woman, her eyes were under constant strain from the computer monitor she worked with, often times causing headaches that would send her home. Sometimes the headaches were so bad that she had to go to the hospital. She claims to have told her supervisors, but it wasn't until she was hospitalized because of a legion to her optic nerve, that management decided to implement equipment to accommodate her medical condition.

But even after implementing the changes, she was still having problems, often having to take further time off of work. This is when she says things got ugly and they threatened to fire her.

Without her medical insurance she would be unable to pay for her medications or hospital bills. And without a job, she would lose her house. But according to the woman, this is exactly what happened after she was unable to return to work shortly after being asked to by two of her supervisors.

In an appeal against Goodwill, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of the woman, saying that she was wrongfully terminated. The woman is also filing claims of discrimination which may clear the way for a federal lawsuit.

Source: South Bend Tribune, "Ex-Worker sues Goodwill over firing," Virginia Black, Sept. 9, 2012

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