Woman's job terminated after cancer surgery

Woman's job terminated after cancer surgery

WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ray and Adriana Gonzales moved to Hawaii in August of 2014. He had received a promotion, and for the married couple of 34 years, it was a new beginning.

To offset Hawaii's high cost of living, Adriana did her part to find gainful employment. She found a position online and applied.

"You were sitting behind a desk just answering the call, putting the work order into the computer. It's not very demanding". That's how Adriana described her work as a maintenance dispatcher for Island Palm communities on Schofield Barracks.

She was a temporary hire--placed there by the temp agency Hawaii Employment. She began work on October 6th.

"It was okay, I liked it".

Life went on for the couple, until their world was turned upside down on January 30th.

"I couldn't talk. Everything was in a fog, like I wasn't sitting there anymore" she recalls.

"I told her…'baby we're going to make it, we're going to do what we have to do'" said Ray.

Adriana had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her medical team went to work, and two weeks later, she had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor.

By Friday, February 19th, she felt strong enough to return to work.

"I let them know I was coming back Monday the 23rd. The supervisor got a little quiet and then she asked me 'full days?' and I said yes, then she said 'okay we'll see you Monday'".

That would never happen, thanks to a call she received later that day.

"At 4:20, I get a call from the employment agency that they had let me go because they felt the job was too demanding and I needed to get well."

Ray and Adriana were devastated.

"It was another blow, to me. I didn't ask to have breast cancer" she said.

"She said 'what about the bills?' I said, if I have to get another job" said Ray.

Hawaii News Now contacted both the temp agency and company. Neither have responded. Hawaii News Now also consulted multiple labor attorneys as well. Because she was a temporary hire, winning a lawsuit could be difficult. For now, the Gonzales' remain committed to her health.

Said Adriana, "I feel if you stay positive you will beat it".

Added Ray, "I love her with all my heart, and I'll do what I have to do to make sure she gets through this. She's my life, she's my soul".

The Gonzales' are still weighing their legal options. They have completed initial questionnaires with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

Adriana is in the process of finding out when she will receive chemotherapy treatment.

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