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Woman alleges Moffitt Cancer Center likened her to a dinosaur, then fired her

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

What’s the best way to get sued for being an ageist employer? If you answered cracking a joke at someone by saying “You are so old, you must have treated dinosaurs,” you would be correct.

That’s what happened to Aileen Judith Staller, a 67-year old nurse practitioner who used to work for Moffitt Cancer Center. She doesn’t work there anymore because they fired her.

Whether or not she got canned as a result of her extensive knowledge of dinosaur medicine is unclear, but what is clear is if her allegations are accurate, Moffitt Cancer Center and those responsible for age-shaming Staller could be in some hot water – like, boiled from an asteroid crashing into the earth hot water.

What’s even more damning about Staller’s claim against her former employer is that her firing may have been the result of retaliation.

Staller began working at Moffitt in 2011 and, according to lawsuit documents, received positive performance reviews. In December of 2013 Staller alleges she found out a younger male co-worker with less experience was earning a higher salary than she.

Statistically speaking, this is not surprising. On average women are paid just 78-cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts.

Staller reportedly went to her superior with her newly acquired information. About two weeks after she complained, Staller was let go.

Her lawsuit alleges Staller attempted to resolve the issue with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, but those efforts were “exhausted” after more than 180-days passed without a determination from either agency.

Moffit claims they fired Staller because she forged a non-medication referral form. However, Staller says that is not true and, rather, she printed the doctor’s name and signed her own. That is considered proper procedure for a nurse practitioner.

The lawsuit alleges Staller suffers from “pain and suffering, extreme and severe mental anguish and emotional distress” as a result of her employers actions. It also states she “will continue to suffer a loss of earnings and other employment benefits and job opportunities.”

She is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 including attorney’s fees. The exact amount she is seeking is not specified in the filed documents.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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