This is a link to a story about a company in Tullahoma, TN that will not allow a worker the neccesary time off to donate a kidney to a distant relative. Even if she wanted to take time off withou pay they will not hold her job for her. She is the sole provider for her family.
Get the word out…call them, write them…
Tennessee Apparel Corp
401 N Atlantic St
Tullahoma, TN 37388
At first I thought that maybe the Family & Medical Leave Act would offer her protection but even though she’s worked at the company long enough to be eligible and I’m sure the company is large enough to grant FMLA leave, she wants to donate her kidney to the spouse of a distant cousin – not a parent, spouse, or child, the only family members close enough to be covered under the FMLA. Tennessee apparently doesn’t have a state law that encourages organ donation by protecting people’s jobs. Maybe this case will lead to that.
Factory jobs often don’t provide as much vacation as some other jobs and she only gets 1 week of vacation a year and she’s been off over a month so far this year, mostly to care for her 3 children when they were ill. She is willing to take the time off (4-6 weeks) without pay, but the company views the surgery as elective, like breast implants.
It will be interesting to see if the media attention will convince the company to allow her time off (without pay) to do this. If not, perhaps some other company might offer her or her husband (who recently lost his job when his employer went out of business) a better job.
Someone on the dialysis_support listserv (a fantastic resource, BTW, go to http://www.yahoogroups.com and put in “dialysis_support” to join) posted this update to the Tennessee company story. I guess public pressure works!
UPDATED: Company to allow time off to donate kidney after public
Last Updated: 6/13/2007 4:39:24 PM
A Nashville-based apparel maker now says it will allow an employee
to take leave time to donate a kidney.
Tennessee Apparel initially told Pam Melson she couldn’t take the
time off, even without pay, and still be guaranteed a job to come
back to at its Waynesboro plant. As her family’s sole financial
provider, she couldn’t afford to risk her job.
Melson is a better match to donate a kidney to her friend Donnie
Hammack than is Hammack’s own sister. The man’s kidneys are failing
and he must make three trips each week to Columbia for dialysis.
After The Tennessean reported about Hammack’s plight and the story
was picked up by other media, the company changed its policy.
A statement from Tennessee Apparel says it will treat requests for
voluntary organ donation as a request covered by the federal Family
Medical Leave Act.