- October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it's also a reminder for workplaces to reacquaint themselves with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the act's guidelines concerning cancer in the workplace, Karen Michael writes for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
- Employees who have cancer, even cancer that is in remission, are classified as having a disability under the ADA, and there's no waiting period for employers to provide reasonable accommodations. Michael lists several examples of such accommodations, including leave for doctors' appointments and treatment recovery, periodic breaks, designated recovery areas, and modified work schedules among other permissions.
- A 2015 report from the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) showed employers want better ways to evaluate whether spending is providing treatment of sufficient quality. That same report showed many employers fail to provide third-party, second opinion options that can reveal misdiagnoses and/or provide better paths to treatment.
Given the absolute flurry of coverage plans that is stressing employees out when it comes to health care options, it's alarming to think that the need to provide helpful, targeted treatment for employees struggling with cancer might not be getting enough attention.
What NEBGH and other voices in the space seem to agree upon is that addressing cancer in the workplace effectively starts with a focus on treatment outcomes. Employers should certainly familiarize themselves with the differences between treatment centers (including centers of excellence), the efficacy of various treatment options and variations in chemotherapy cost.
As usual, HR should keep ADA and other workplace requirements in mind and approach these situations with empathy.