A Hickory, North Carolina woman has been terminated by her employer due to the coronavirus.
Kayla Hifko, who was hired as a dental assistant, but worked exclusively as the office coordinator for KOS Endodontics, said she was terminated because she had to care for her terminally ill daughter, after Governor Roy Cooper ordered that all North Carolina Schools close until May 15.
They fired me because the governor issued an executive order to close North Carolina schools. My daughter is terminally ill and requires nursing-level care around the clock. The nurse was with her during school hours, while I worked. I don’t have a nurse at home due to the pandemic, Hifko said.
Hifko told The North Carolina Beat that Dr. Alexander Kutuza (Owner of KOS Endodontics) knew the severity of her daughter’s condition prior to being hired because she made sure to let Dr. Kutuza know about it during her initial interview.
When Governor Cooper ordered all North Carolina K-12 public schools to close, Hifko said that she had no choice but to stay home with her daughter as she is her primary caregiver.
As it turns out, Hifko was not the only employee to be terminated from KOS Endodontics due to personal reasons that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just last week dental assistant, Macy Roden, was fired by Dr. Kutuza after she went into self-quarantine per doctors orders whilst awaiting the results of her COVID-19 test. (Click HERE if you missed that story)
Not only were Hifko and Roden terminated during a state of emergency, but both women were also notified of their termination via text messages sent from Dr. Kutuza very late at night. It is extremely unprofessional to text an employee regarding something as sensitive as the termination of their employment, and even more so when you send said text messages well past what would be considered by most people as acceptable business hours.
They text me at 10:00 p.m. to terminate my employment and I quote, “without cause!” It seems to me (and many readers following allowing) they retaliated to avoid any sort of leave benefits or payments.
It is a shame that employers, such as KOS Endodontics, are terminating their employees in general right now, let alone for no legitimate reason. While North Carolina is a “fire at will” state, most businesses are trying to ensure that their employees can continue to work as long as they can before being closed down either because of government requirements or exposure to COVID-19.
The last few weeks have been extremely difficult for the entire country and in the midst of this unprecedented crisis, most Americans have stepped up to help those most in need. Apparently Dr. Kutuza and the HR manager for KOS Endodontics have either been living under a very large rock since the first diagnosed case of COVID-19 occurred in the US or they could care less that Kayla Hifko has a terminally ill daughter and Macy Roden was possibly infected with the virus. It is clear to The North Carolina Beat which of those two options is likely to be the case.
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