Lifestyle & Belief

Woman donates kidney to help boss, then gets fired


A man rests in his hospital room in the medical center at the University of Chicago on June 6, 2003, after kidney, liver and heart transplants.


Tim Boyle

In June 2010, Deborah Stevens visited her former boss, Jackie Brucia, a controller for the Atlantic Automotive Group. During that meeting, Brucia mentioned that she needed a new kidney.

Stevens said she'd be willing to help out if necessary, she told ABC News.

A few months later, Stevens asked Brucia for her old job back, and Brucia rehired her within weeks. But the rehiring appeared to come with a few strings attached to it.

Brucia later called Stevens into her office and asked if she was serious about that kidney offer.  "I said, ‘Sure, yeah,'" Stevens told the New York Post

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On Friday, Stevens, a 47-year-old divorced mother of two, filed a formal complaint with the New York State Human Rights Commission, claiming that Brucia manipulated her into donating the organ. "She just started treating me horribly, viciously, inhumanly after the surgery," Stevens told ABC. "It was almost like she hired me just to get my kidney."

It turned out that Stevens' kidney wasn't actually the right match for Brucia, so Stevens instead donated her kidney to another patient, which helped Brucia move higher on the list and eventually get a kidney of her own, CBS reported. Stevens said the only thanks that she received from Brucia was via email, according to CBS. 

After her surgery, Stevens had trouble recovering. But she said Brucia yelled at her and berated her for going home sick. Brucia eventually helped to get Stevens fired, the complaint says, according the New York Post.

The Post reported today that Stevens demanded to get her kidney back--although that won't be easy, since the organ is currently in a patient from Missouri. 

According to, it is illegal to ask seriously ill employees to return to work before they are ready.