Marla Gilson, a well-known Jewish activist who headed the Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) and was let go soon after being diagnosed with cancer, has reached an agreement with her former employer.
On May 9, AJAS announced both sides had “resolved their differences concerning Ms. Gilson’s recent separation from the organization.” Gilson, according to the AJAS statement, will not get her job back, but she will receive additional severance and financial support to help cover her medical expenses.
Gilson learned she had cancer shortly after taking on the job at AJAS last year. Despite her request to keep the job and return to full capacity post-recovery, AJAS leadership decided to terminate her employment. The issue received widespread coverage in the Jewish world, including this article in the Forward, as many activists and friends of Gilson decried what they saw as a wrongful firing during an employee’s time of need.
AJAS explained, in its correspondence with Gilson, that since the organization is small it could not afford to keep Gilson’s job open while she awaits full recovery.
Gilson was not immediately available to comment on the settlement.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.