Science

18 Percent Of Cancer-Afflicted Workers Face Work Discrimination

By Christie Abagon , Nov 07, 2016 05:20 PM EST
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According to a recent survey conducted by Macmillan Cancer Support, among 1,009 patients, all in work when diagnosed with cancer, shows that about 18 percent face discrimination in the workplace. 

About 20,000 people a year diagnosed with cancer will face discrimination, with 35 percent of cancer patients said they feel guilty for taking time off for appointments and that they lose faith in their ability to do their job, while 14 percent give up work or are made redundant as a result. 

Liz Egan, of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "It's appalling that, during an already difficult, often stressful time, so many employers are not offering the right support to people with cancer, leaving little choice but to leave.  If people are unaware of these rights, they are unable to ask their employers to make adjustments for them. Sometimes they don't even tell their employers that they have cancer."

Macmillan is calling on all employers to put policies in place and that their HR department, managers, and staff should have skills to support colleagues who have cancer.

The Equality Act 2010 - and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland - protect workers diagnosed with cancer from being treated unfairly because of their diagnosis.  In the United States, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), prohibits all discrimination related to a disability, a perceived disability, and a history of disability.   Some people are fortunate to work with understanding colleagues and bosses, however, other people are not very lucky.

"People living with cancer should know that they have the full support of their employer to return to work, if they want and are able to do so. Returning to work after cancer can also be an integral part of their recovery, so it's crucial that employers show support and understanding to make this a reality," Egan added.

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