Breast Cancer – Employment Law and Disability

Scales of Justice - Law

Cancer is a disability? Eh?  The disability discrimination act (usually shortened to the DDA)  prevents employers from discriminating against people with disabilities in the workforce.  In 2005 the act was extended so that people with cancer were also covered.  This means people with cancer (of any type) have legal protection from discrimination in the workplace.

Unfortunately, not all employers realise that cancer is classed as a disability.  Under this act employers must make “reasonable adjustments” to allow an employee to continue working, if they so wish. A reasonable adjustment could be a gradual return to work, for example as part of a temproary job share or on part-time hours. Employers could also provide additional support with tasks that involve physical work, such as lifting and bending.

Breast cancer care launched the “EMPLOY Charter” in Summer 2014, it is a guide to best practice in the workplace, it gives quotes from women about how they and their employers coped with working and breast cancer.  Some of the suggestions are specific to breast cancer, but many can be applied to all types of cancer.

I like the employ charter because it is clear to understand and gives real life examples. You can download a copy or order a print verstion from their website. Around  4,000 women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland, many of them will be working, so please try and pass this information on to someone who might benefit.

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