Q. I'm 23 and started a new job last year, but have been recently diagnosed with cancer. My treatment should last less than four months, but I'm concerned about losing my job. My employer seems supportive, but I'm still worried. I’m looking for some guidance.
There are many people who decide to work while in treatment for cancer, whether it’s for financial reasons or to maintain stability and routine. It is important to know that you are not required to disclose your diagnosis to your employer. However, if you do decide to disclose, you should be aware of your rights. The Americans with Disability Act prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the workplace. In other words, as long as you are able to complete your work and fulfill your duties, you can’t legally be fired for having cancer. Some of the accommodations recommended by the ADA include flexible work hours that will not interfere with treatment schedules and doctor’s appointments, breaks, the ability to work remotely and many more. If any of these accommodations are needed, speak with your manager or human resources department to discuss your options. You might want to speak with your doctors prior to speaking with your employers to determine potential side effects and how they may impact your performance. It can be an incredible relief to have an extra layer of support from your employers and coworkers. Unfortunately, some employers are not as understanding. Be sure to document the interactions you have had with your manager or Human Resources and any issues you have experienced. You might want to obtain job performance evaluations that highlight your work. There are many resources available to help navigate how to proceed if you’ve been discriminated against, including: