Cancer and discrimination at work

Written by: Fit for Work team | Posted in: Blog

cancerdiscriminationA survey carried out in 2013 by Macmillan Cancer Support/YouGov of 2,142 adults living with cancer, concluded that more people living with cancer are experiencing discrimination at work now than in previous years, despite the introduction of the Equality Act in 2010. Based on the responses of 168 people who had returned to work after treatment (having received treatment within the past five years), the following conclusions could be drawn:

  • 37% said that they ­experienced discrimination compared with just ­23% in 2010.
  • Around 10% felt harassed to the point that they felt they could not stay in their job.
  • 8% said their employer failed to make reasonable changes to enable them to do their job.

The respondents also reported other forms of discrimination they were facing, including:

  • not being allowed time off for medical appointments;
  • being passed over for promotion;
  • being abused by their employer or colleagues (e.g. by being given unfair workloads).

According to Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support:

“Employers are risking prosecution by flouting their legal responsibility to protect people living with cancer from unfair treatment and stigma at work. There needs to be far more understanding of cancer and how the effects of treatment may impact on people returning to work.”

Fit for Work offers free, expert and impartial work-related health advice to GPs, employers and employees in order to support those who have been (or are likely to be) off work for four weeks or more. Visit our website for more information.

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