DALLAS (CN) – The Dallas Cowboys Merchandising arm defamed a fan club manager by claiming she “faked” her cancer, then fired her during the NFL’s breast cancer awareness month, the woman claims in court.
Meghan Wilson sued Dallas Cowboys Merchandising and its general partner DCM Genpar, in Federal Court.
Wilson says she was hired in October 2010 at $42,000 a year and promoted to fan club manager within a week. Her salary included two tickets to Cowboys home games.
She fell ill in December 2010 and was diagnosed with cancer.
“When Ms. Wilson notified DCM of her condition, her supervisors failed to accommodate her medical condition,” the complaint states.
“Instead, they intentionally increased her workload and subjected her to escalating demands and pressure in an attempt to force her resignation.
“Ms. Wilson’s supervisors also refused to let Ms. Wilson use her Dallas Cowboys game tickets, which were part of her compensation package.
“Additionally, Ms. Wilson’s supervisors made false accusations and spread rumors regarding the reasons for her absences during chemotherapy treatments, including but not limited to false statements that Ms. Wilson:
“a. Faked having cancer;
“b. Had an affair with a married co-worker; and
“c. Had a botched abortion.
“These allegations were false and ignored the medical information about her condition that Ms. Wilson had provided to DCM. In fact, not only did DCM ignore Wilson’s medical information, it routinely and intentionally shared that confidential information with virtually anyone who worked with or for DCM, including some of Wilson’s co-workers, without any authority to release it, and in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.”
The complaint then identifies two supervisors who allegedly defamed her.
“In May 2011, Ms. Wilson’s ultimate superior, [a third supervisor] Mr. Bill Priokus, demanded that Ms. Wilson disclose her medical condition to her co-workers,” the complaint states. “When she refused to give in to his strong-arm tactics, he threatened that he would fire her. Fearing the loss of her job, Ms. Wilson reluctantly disclosed, to her own humiliation, her private medical information to several individuals in her office, none of whom had any office-related reason to know Plaintiff’s private medical information.”
Wilson says that seven months later, a fourth supervisor fired her due to “financial hardship,” even after human resources informed him that they must accommodate her disability.
“The attempted firing occurred only hours after Mr. [Michael] McKay learned from plaintiff that her cancer had come out of remission and would require additional treatment,” the complaint states. “Specifically, human resources advised Mr. McKay that he could not terminate Ms. Wilson’s employment due to her medical disabilities, and instead could place her on leave until she could be placed in another position with the defendant.”
It adds: “Mr. McKay ignored that advice (and the law) and fired Ms. Wilson during the height of the NFL’s breast cancer awareness month.” (Parentheses in complaint.) Wilson seeks actual and punitive damages for defamation, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Texas Labor Code and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. She is represented by Lawrence Bailey with Bailey Harneck of Dallas.
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