Anorak News | Job hunting with cancer – forget it

Job hunting with cancer – forget it

by | 29th, November 2018

Would you tell a prospective employer you have cancer? The blurb on the job advert says they are an equal opportunities employer and committed to anti-discriminatory practices. But would you tell them? The answer should be ‘no’. Don’t bother taking the chance. New research says one in five cancer patients report discrimination upon their return to work. Macmillan Cancer Support conducted a YouGov poll of 1,500 people – 87% of people with cancer want to work. But 4% of respondents claimed to have lost their job as a result of their diagnosis. There was not data on the effects the disease has on those looking for work. But my advice is: if you mention it you’ve no chance of getting the job.

“We know how important it is to many people to work during cancer treatment, or return to employment afterwards, and this is entirely possible with the right support. However, some managers may have misconceptions about employees with a cancer diagnosis,” says Liz Egan, Working Through Cancer programme lead at Macmillan Cancer Support. “The rise in calls we have experienced to our helpline is staggering and shows just how vital it is that people with cancer have support and advice with their choices around work. Employers must be aware of their legal obligations under the Equality Act and ensure that there are appropriate policies and processes in place to best support their staff.”

All employees are aware of the law. But that’s not to say they believe it helps their business. You automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis. Big deal. A second YouGov poll of 1,000 line managers revealed that some were wary of retaining employees with cancer. Fear of not getting value for money governs thinking – eight per cent say they’d worry a cancer patient would sue their illness an excuse not to perform; 34% were concerned the sufferer would not stay long in the job.  

Jordan Taylor, a cancer patient, tells the charity: “When I returned to work after treatment I was called into a meeting by my boss, who said performance was down in my absence and that companies had complained. There was no time to ease back into my role or any mention of reasonable adjustments to help me during recovery. Shortly after my return, I was told my whole team was facing redundancy. A few colleagues insinuated that it was my fault, even though I was ill – it was awful and caused me a huge amount of worry.”

Legally, you don’t have to tell your employer if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. But if you don’t tell them, they don’t have any obligation to make reasonable adjustments to help you. But worse of all is being self-employed. The golden rule is not to be. You’re screwed if you are. 

Posted: 29th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink