Woman fired over her breast cancer, awarded $8.1 million

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX)-- It's a headline-making judgment with an $8.1 million pay out.

But at the end of the day, Kara Jorud, of Delray Beach, is still recovering from a near-fatal bout with cancer and she doesn't have the job she loved.

"It was never about the money. It was a matter of sticking up for what I believed in," she said.

Back in 2008, the three-year store manager of the Michael's Arts and Crafts store in Boca Raton had a double mastectomy after developing breast cancer.

She was away from the store for five weeks to recover, but claims a district manager didn't care and told her in no uncertain terms -- get to work or you're out.

"I was called at home non-stop wanting to know when I was going to be back? I couldn't return to work because with a double mastectomy; you have drainage tubes that come out," she said.

When she returned she was accused of stealing a $5 table-top tiki torch which she showed she payed for.

"They produced a receipt, but termination continued with four different reasons. It was clear the goal was to end employment one way or the other," said her Attorney Brian McPherson of the Gunster Law Firm in West Palm Beach.

The harrasment continued according to McPherson and eventually Jorud was fired.

Two years later, after suing the parent company, a Palm Beach County jury sided with the woman giving her the multi-million dollar award.

Michael's Arts and Crafts responded in a prepared statement:

"We are disappointed in the jury's verdict. As a company with nearly 40,000 employees, Michael's works daily with men and women who have illnesses and disabilities of all kinds, and has a long track record of treating them fairly and compassionately."

In addition to that $8.1 million award, Jorud is also entitled to $1 million in lost wages.

All of it meaningless, since she still doesn't know if she's completely cancer free. "I am the little guy, and I stood up for what I believed in," she concluded.

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