A Temple University librarian who died of breast cancer was forced to choose between her job and her health due to the university's strict sick-leave policy, her friends and colleagues told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Latanya Jenkins, 45, died in April 2020 but did her best to work nearly every day up until her death as she was under pressure from the university not to take additional time off. “No one can know what could have happened if she had worked for a more caring organization,” said Fobazi Ettarh, one of her coworkers. “They ran her into the ground.”
Temple allows employees ten sick-leave days a year but start disciplining workers once they’ve used six. They can face unpaid suspensions and risk being fired. Jenkins eventually secured leave under the Family Medical Leave Act but at that point she was already severely ill. “I just want to walk without extreme pain,” she wrote in a text message after the cancer had spread to her spine. Temple did not comment on Jenkins’ circumstances but said the reporting on her situation was “based on rumor and conjecture rather than fact.” A GoFundMe was created in Jenkins’ memory to fund a scholarship for students and early-career librarians.