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The Guardian:

Cancer patients sacked illegally, survey finds

Cancer patients suffer discrimination and unfair dismissal at work despite recent legislation to protect their rights, disability experts said today.

An investigation by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) found that many cancer patients were discriminated against because their employers were not aware of their legal responsibilities.

The commission said its helpline had dealt with, on average, two calls a week from women with breast cancer complaining of unfair treatment at work since Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was amended in December to give protection to people with cancer.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 03:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some more information from the Disability Rights Commission website

In total, more than 70 women with breast cancer and 103 people with other forms of cancer have called the DRC Helpline complaining of problems with their employers.

(...)

Among callers with other cancers, the overwhelming majority (82%) cited employers failing to make reasonable adjustments that would keep them in work. Nearly one in five callers reported having been dismissed.  A further 13% of callers complained of facing threats of dismissal and nearly 6% of callers were facing disciplinary action.

These kind of issues frequently arise with most disabilities, often due to the assumption that any reasonable adjustments would be a hassle and cost a fortune, which actually is rarely the case. So employers just give people the boot.

The Disability Discrimination Act itself came into force in a staggered way, and each time there was an overwhelming ignorance and lack of preparation to meet the requirements.  Unfortunately it doesn't surprise me at all that employers are not aware that that they can no long just sack people with cancer.  The Amendment also covers people with HIV and with Multiple Sclerosis.

There's also a lack of awareness in the general population as to what their rights actually are, and what they can do if they've been treated unlawfully at work - which just gives even more leeway for unscrupulous employers to go ahead with exploiting and devaluing their employees.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just one example of the bad side of capitalism.
by gradinski chai on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:53:48 AM EST
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Exactly. And it absolutely galls that I have to work so hard to try to convince employers of the business case behind supporting disabled people to be able to stay in the workplace (this applies generally to promoting good equality practice), because I know that they are impervious to the argument that morally, it is the right thing to do.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:22:18 AM EST
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