North Kingstown woman alleges Tiffany forced her out of job due to cancer mutation
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A former employee of Tiffany & Co. says the jewelry maker pushed her out after she had her breasts and ovaries removed to avoid getting cancer.
Lisa O'Rourke, who lives in North Kingstown, alleges in a federal lawsuit that the New York-based company discriminated against her because she carries a gene mutation that put her at high risk for developing cancer, and she was compelled to have surgeries that her lawyer says were life-saving.
Tiffany is fighting the lawsuit, filed in November in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, and said it believes the allegations are "completely without merit."
O'Rourke said she decided to sue, and speak about her experience, because she wants to spread the word to Tiffany's many female customers, especially high-profile women affected by breast cancer. She specifically cited Angelina Jolie, who has been photographed in Tiffany, and Lady Gaga, who's starring in a new Tiffany ad and has spoken about a close friend stricken with breast cancer.