- A new study found that employees with cancer face discrimination despite amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), reports the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC).
- The ADA was amended in 2009 to cover workers whose cancer is in remission, extending protections against workplace discrimination based on long-term effects of previous cancer. The study, published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, investigated discrimination allegations filed before and after the 2009 amendment. It found that workers in remission still faced discrimination based largely on reasonable accommodations.
- The study also found that the courts considered cases based on employment terms, such as denying promotions or forcing retirements, as having more merit than accommodation, hiring and termination allegations.
Researchers in the study concluded that since employers have difficulty meeting the ADA’s reasonable accommodation guidelines, employers might work with oncologists who understand the needs of cancer patients and can help those in remission fulfill their jobs with assistance, if necessary.
Examples of accommodation in the workplace might include time off for medical appointments, periodic work breaks, modified work schedules and/or designated recovery spaces, as well as physical accommodations such as ramps or special chairs.
Employers can work with medical professionals to help accommodate workers with a range of disabilities. This collaboration can help remove barriers for workers with disabilities that keep them from being hired, trained and promoted. Wellness programs should also be carefully aligned with ADA guidelines.