Former employee’s wife pleads to company to approve unemployment benefits so she can pay for her cancer treatments.
December 19, 2012
Portland, OR – Cancer victim Holly Hicks is generating attention at Change.org, the world’s largest petition platform, with her petition to fight back against unfairness in the workplace.
Why a Petition?
Paul and Holly Hicks were offered no compassion or options when the company that Paul worked for, ESCO Corporation, terminated him from his job as plant scheduler. He had worked for the company for thirty nine years. To date, ESCO has refused to respond to the couple.
Denying his unemployment benefits and taking away their health insurance, the company left them without means for Holly to continue her cancer treatments. Without unemployment benefits they don’t have incoming funds to pay the $1200 a month Cobra premium. Because her cancer is a pre-existing condition Holly has been denied private insurance and Obamacare doesn’t start until January 2014. Like so many other cancer patients, she not only has to fight her illness, but she also has to fight the system.
On September 5th, 2012, Paul was told that ESCO Corporation was conducting a “universal drug screening test” and that all employees would have to participate on that day. “Not all employees had to take the drug test that day,” said Paul. “Selected upper management and others were not required to participate. This felt like discrimination to the rest of us.”
Paul Hicks was one of several employees that failed their test that day and was fired. His test results came back with a “trace” of marijuana. Paul stated, “I don’t know if it came from second hand exposure from Holly’s use during chemo treatments, or if it was from a few puffs I took the previous Friday night. I escaped our world of cancer for a few minutes, five days before this test and when I didn’t pass I was immediately fired. They held no value to my 39 years of dedicated service to their company. I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone about their decision. I was tossed out like garbage without even a thank-you for all the years I’d put in.”
The Company’s Deception
Calvin Collins, ESCO Corporation president chose employee termination over layoffs to save money on the company side, showing no compassion on the employee side. It was common knowledge that a large layoff was going to happen before the end of the year. They quickly revised their out-of-date employee handbook with several new “drug testing” policies and within three weeks conducted their unfair version of a “universal drug test”. One manager was heard to say, “They are thinning the herd before layoffs.” The test itself was done in a brutal and humiliating manor,” said Paul, “This was a fast and dirty way to get rid of employees.”
Support the Petition
Anyone can sign the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/esco-corporation-discrimination-cancer-victim-job-loss-after-39-years-with-company-compensate-your-employee. The couple hopes that with enough signatures, their voices will be heard and that ESCO Corporation with step up to help.
To learn more about Paul and Holly Hicks’ petition, please contact:
Petition Creator/Cancer Victim/Website Owner