Cancer Diagnosis? – FMLA and ADA Protections

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. Fighting cancer is a daunting task. But, every day people face a cancer diagnosis with courage. In the employment context,  the effects of cancer, and cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery resulting from a cancer diagnosis,  can alter the employment relationship.

Fighting to keep a job while fighting cancer? Too often employers are not sympathetic to the effect that cancer has on an employee’s ability to work.  Some employers don’t want to take the time to understand and make accommodations for employees as they go through the cancer battle.

There are laws that provide protection to people fighting cancer.

The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for an employee while battling a serious health condition. Protected leave means, regardless of whether the leave is paid or unpaid, the employer must preserve an employee’s job for up to 12 weeks annually.  So that means that when an employee returns to work within those 12 weeks, that employee is entitled to the same position, the same pay, and the same level of responsibility they had before going out of work due to their health condition. But sometimes, the 12 weeks is not enough. So, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides additional protection.

The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically lists cancer as a health condition that is entitled to protection under the ADA. (The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.S. § 12112.).   The ADA regulation states that cancer meets the definition of a disability under the ADA. Because cancer is a protected disability under the ADA, the employer cannot discriminate against a person just because they have cancer. In addition, an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to the employee to assist the employee with performing the functions of their job.  Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to; work from home, job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations.  

When an employer is forced to provide reasonable accommodations, it allows an employee who is battling cancer to maintain a source of income and, even as important, a sense of dignity and self-worth.

At the Ralph Bryant Law Firm, we fight for the rights of employees who are battling cancer. We are committed to being a source of strength and compassion for employees battling cancer. We are committed to ensuring that an employee battling cancer receives the full protection of the law. We are committed to justice. 

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Ralph Bryant Law Firm

Aggressive and Compassionate Legal Representation in North Carolina | With over three decades of experience in both state and federal courts, Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr. is committed to getting you justice. Our office is in Greenville, North Carolina, but we serve clients across Eastern North Carolina and in the Triad. Regardless of your legal situation, you can count on us to bring you the best legal advice and services in the region. We don’t care what your background is or what you need from us. Our goal is to help you take power back in your life through aggressive and compassionate legal solutions. There is always hope when you work with Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr.

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