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Neiman Marcus fired me after MS diagnosis, woman alleges

The Neiman Marcus store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus. A former worker claims she was discriminated against because she has multiple sclerosis. (Getty Images) 

A Metuchen woman who worked for retailer Neiman Marcus in the Westfield Garden State Plaza claims she was discriminated against and fired after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Beatriz Canton, 46, worked as a sales person and product specialist in the Paramus store for nearly six years before she was fired on Nov. 5, 2015, according to a lawsuit filed last month in Bergen County Superior Court.

Canton was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in February 2012 and experienced difficulty with her vision. In April 2012, she presented supervisors with a note from her doctor and asked that she be permitted to leave work early so she would not have to drive at night, the lawsuit states.

Supervisors allowed Canton to leave early but then required her to resubmit her request again in May and in November, the lawsuit states.

According to WebMD, multiple sclerosis is a disabling disease of the central nervous system that sometimes causes optic neuritis, a condition leading to blurred vision and sometimes sudden blindness.

Canton claims when she presented a human resources manager with a doctor's note in November 2012, the manager asked: "Why are you working here? Why don't you get a job close to your house?"

In 2013 and 2014, human resources allegedly denied Canton's requests to leave early, the lawsuit states.

Canton also claims she became ill at work due to a change in medication and supervisors refused to let her leave early. She was later hospitalized for a week, the lawsuit states.

On Nov. 5, 2015, Canton claims she was fired after asking to leave early, the lawsuit claims.

Neiman Marcus declined to discuss the case on Tuesday.

"Since it's ongoing litigation, we don't have any comment on it," said Ginger Reeder, spokeswoman for the retailer.

In addition to Neiman Marcus, the lawsuit names four employees in the Paramus store.

The suit alleges Canton had been performing her job at a satisfactory level and was terminated due to her disability.

The conduct of Neiman Marcus and its employees "was willful, malicious and/or especially egregious and done with the knowledge and/or participation of upper-level management," the suit states.

In addition to discrimination, the lawsuit accuses the store of retaliation and failure to accommodate a disability.

Canton is seeking a monetary judgment for back and front pay, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, along with compensatory and punitive damages.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by NJ.COM
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