Cancer patient takes former employers to employment tribunal

Being sacked from his job led cancer patient to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal

 

Research carried out by the UK charity Macmillan has found that nearly one-fifth (18%) of those with a diagnosis of cancer face discrimination from their employers and colleagues when they go back to work.

A total of 1,009 cancer patients took part in the survey and all of them were in work when diagnosed. 15% said they went back to work before they really felt able to do so and some said they suffered from guilt for having time off work to attend appointments.

UK charity Macmillan has found that nearly one-fifth (18%) of those with a diagnosis of cancer face discrimination from their employers

Macmillan cancer support charity shop © Copyright Brian Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The charity Macmillan, who provide support for those suffering from cancer, warned employers how important it is that they offer better support to their workers dealing with cancer and the right training and skills should be in place within the company.

The survey found that 14% of people diagnosed with cancer either give up work, or are made redundant.

Terry Foster, aged 58, from Southport, said that he was “treated appallingly” by his former employer. In 2010, Mr Foster was diagnosed with lymphoma and told he hadn’t long to live but he defied the odds and started to recover, so planned to go back to his job as a refrigeration engineer.

However, when he turned up at work to meet his manager, he was told he was being sacked because of the cancer as he wouldn’t be able to cope with job stress, even though the stress of losing his job meant he had to worry about telling his wife, supporting a young family and having to pay a mortgage.

Mr Foster received a letter of confirmation from his former employers with a full explanation for his dismissal.

He took the firm to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal, won and was awarded over £62,000.

Ms Egan, who heads the Working Through Cancer programme at Macmillan Cancer Support, said that many people suffering with cancer “are not aware they have rights under the Equalities Act.”

She also said that many patients wrongfully don’t tell their employers they are suffering from cancer.

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