Health insurer fired exec over medical issues, lawsuit claims

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Doctors HealthCare Plans and its CEO allegedly violated the Family and Medical Leave Act by firing an immunocompromised executive over medical issues, according to Law360, which cited a federal complaint filed Aug. 19. 

Julie Ferro, former vice president of provider relations at Doctors HealthCare Plans, says she has health issues, including high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis, which put her at greater risk of complications from COVID-19. She alleges that Doctors HealthCare Plans CEO Rafael Perez fired her in June because of her medical conditions. 

Mr. Perez allegedly said in March that the pandemic was overhyped, but he allowed employees to temporarily work from home. When the office reopened in May, he allegedly assured workers that the space would be safe. However, Ms. Ferro claims the facility lacked basic cleaning supplies and other employees were not wearing masks or social distancing. 

Though Ms. Ferro received a $25,000 raise in 2019 and a $10,000 performance bonus in late May, she was fired June 8. Mr. Perez allegedly said "things were not working out."

Ms. Ferro claims Mr. Perez had made comments about her health issues before the pandemic. When he fired her, he allegedly indicated through a hand motion that Ms. Ferro's up-and-down health issues were a reason for her termination, according to the report. 

Read the full Law360 article here

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