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Cancer and workplace disability discrimination

According to a recent study, the occurrences of workplace discrimination against employees that have cancer have not been eliminated despite the changes made to the Americans with Disability Act in 2009. However, oncologists can provide valuable advice to workers and employers in California so that reasonable accommodations can be made.

The ADA law, which was established in 1990 and provided a legal remedy for individuals experiencing workplace discrimination due to their disabilities, could not be applied to employees whose cancer went into remission. As a result, workers who were discriminated against because of the long-term effects of their earlier cancers were unable to file ADA complaints. The law was modified in 2009 so that employees who had disabilities that were in remission or being managed well could file complaints under the ADA if their active impairments significantly limited a major life activity.

The recently published research included an examination of the quantity and type of allegations that were filed by employees with cancer histories before and after the amendments were made to ADA. It also assessed some of the claims that were accepted in court.

The researchers concluded that employees were more inclined to file discrimination claims regarding workplace relations and employment terms after the ADA changes became effective. However, the reporting of allegations related to reasonable accommodations, termination and hiring showed no significant changes before or after the amendments became enforceable.

An attorney that is experienced with employment law may advise individuals that have been discriminated against at work due to their disabilities about the available legal avenues they should pursue. A discrimination complaint may be filed with the appropriate federal agency to hold the employer responsible. Financial damages, in the form of back and future wages and recompense for harassment, may also be pursued.

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