Local cancer patient who lost job at Microsoft has message for Big Business

KIRKLAND, Wash.  --  A local woman is hoping to not only inspire those looking for work, she's hoping her message will make big companies aspire to provide more compassion toward employees, especially those they're letting go.

For the past eight years, Mary Sieler has created online content for MSN. For the past five months, she's been on disability and fighting stage-three ovarian cancer.

And for the past six days, she's been one of 3,000 laid off by Microsoft.

Mary says she's unhappy with how the layoffs were handled.

"I think there is a vast improvement needed in how that is handled, yes. Whether you're running a company or you're the janitor sweeping up the hallway, I think that compassion is something that everyone deserves," she says.

Tuesday night, a Microsoft spokesperson says the company takes the treatment of their employees very seriously -- and they're doing everything they can to provide compassion through this difficult transition.

In an email to staff, CEO Satya Nadella said everyone can expect to be treated with respect. And those affected will get severance pay, as well as job placement help.

Once Mary is cleared from disability by her doctor, she says, her next battle will the job search.

She wants the thousands of others who were also laid off to know "people are more than a number. We are not just a number on someone's HR tablet. We are people to recognize, valued and appreciated for our service.

"I don't care if you have cancer or you're just raising a family and trying to pay your bills, and I think sometimes the corporate message gets lost. It's all going to be OK. We are all going to be OK. "

Microsoft also says all employees affected by the recent layoffs will continue on the payroll through December 28th and have the ability to maintain their health care uninterrupted.