Tuesday Morning CEO files discrimination claim that breast cancer diagnosis figured in her ouster

Dallas -- Kathleen Mason, former president and CEO of Tuesday Morning Corp., has filed disability discrimination charges against the retailer, alleging she was removed after disclosing to the board that she was battling breast cancer.

"The board's attitude toward Kathleen changed after it learned of her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment,’ said attorney Roger Dunn, of Clouse Dunn Dunn LLP, Dallas, who is representing Mason, in a statement on Friday.

In the filing, Mason claims she was removed from her leadership role in June after disclosing to the Tuesday Morning board that she was battling breast cancer. Prior to her firing, Mason led the company to 12 consecutive years of profitability before her firing, according to a statement released by Dunn.

"Current quarterly estimates were down at the company, but this is a woman who had proven to be a more-than-effective leader and prepared the company to weather the current economic downturn," he said. 

Dunn said that Tuesday Morning had been profitable every year Mason led the company, and that the company has no long-term debt. During her tenure, private equity investors led by Madison Dearborn saw an initial investment of approximately $117 million grow in value to more than $700 million, according to Dunn.

"Given her record, this is someone any company would want leading them through these challenging times. But instead, the board's attitude toward Kathleen changed after it learned of her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment," he said. "But those who know Kathleen know that she would never allow her health to become a corporate liability."

The severance package offered to Mason emphasized medical benefits and included a 10-year consultancy clause, after which an 18-month non-compete clause would begin, in effect locking her out of working elsewhere for nearly 12 years.

"The board made it clear she was not being fired 'for cause' and the company wanted to retain her expertise for another 11½ years. One has to question why she was removed from her job," said Dunn.

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