Post Treatment Protection?

kbc4869 Member Posts: 159
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi Ladies,

Could use your experiences. I am 10 months out of treatment (surgery, chemo, rads) and unfortunately still not feeling so good (fatigue, back pain, breast pain, arm pain, etc. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda --You know the drill.) During treatment and now after, I am working from home much of the time. I complete all work required and put in my hours (it's more than 40 hours a week actually) and received a lot kudos and support from my supervisor, peers, and higher ups.

However, we recently have gone through a reorganization and I have new bosses who are in the process of cleaning house due to budget cuts. My work-at-home arrangement has been questioned and I have the feeling is being weighed as a good reason to let me go. I do have a doc note, which I've provided to HR. This seems to have pacified for the time being, but I can't help but feel that losing my job is a possibility. Since I am not currently in treatment (I guess tamoxfin doesn't count), I'm not really "disabled." And, while I am currently going in for many tests lately because some symptoms have been hanging on, I do not have an official diagnosis of cancer (Thank God, I know; you'd think this would be good news, but I get the feeling my job would be safer if I had it!). I would like to believe that I'm still recovering and not "disabled" (I hate that word), and be ready to return to work full time soon. But do I have any protection? While I am able to perform all tasks with miminmal accomodation changes to the firm (it costs them no additional money, resources, or loss of work for me to work remotely and come in for meetings), I'm afraid that this layoff is a good oppoturnity get rid of someone who might cause them incovenience at times. The perception is "why not keep someone who shows up everyday?"

Any insight, experience, or resources you can point me to would be greatly appreciated. I have a meeting with HR and would like to go in feeling a little more confident and informed.




  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member

    Since you've been working from home for 10 months, I can't imagine why that would be a problem now? Especially since it appears that your work has been of high standard and produced the desired results and has been cost effective to your employer.

    If the budget is the legitimate issue, then it would seem logical that your job would be safe?

    Still, your gut feeling is what you must address. I'd suggest that you secure some sound legal advice BEFORE you do anything else. This way, you'll know your legal recourse, should it become necessary to defend your position. Getting legal advice now can also save you from making critical mistakes in how you handle the issue from this point to conclusion. Most companies have legal advice before, during and after this kind of decision making process and of course, they appreciate when the employee is uninformed, misinformed or completely taken by surprise.

    I would imagine that if your docs note mentioned
    "minimal accommodations" being required in order for you to "show up" at work, and that you have no current diagnosis preventing your working, it's a sticky situation. That's wicked business, because can "side effects" not be a diagnosis, in and of themselves? If treatment for a life threatening disease/condition leaves us compromised, are we indeed disabled? If not, then what are we, medicaly and legally speaking? Is there a doctor alive who would go out on a limb and say yes, debilitating side effects constitute a dx? Can the company insist that you go onto disability if you are unable to "show up" for work as opposed to making the minimal accommodations you need? Can they terminate you as part of a "class" of "budgetary cuts", thereby absolving themselves of any legal liability, even though you're under a doctor's care at the time? I've no idea. There's a lot to think about here and only legal advice can answer those and a multitude of other questions for you.

    Different states have differing guidelines, rules, regulations and precepts, so I'd not wait to get about securing legal advice. I wouldn't want to walk into that HR meeting feeling vulnerable or not knowing my legal rights/options.

    Hoping things are not as precarious for your job security as you're thinking they may be and that everything will turn out well.

    Love, light and laughter,
  • roxanne53
    roxanne53 Member Posts: 154
    I agree with inkblot.

    It is important to know your legel rights with respect to the workplace.
    When I had questions about this, I did call the ACS for their reading material about this issue.

    Do you have a union, or something similar to discuss this with? They could be a representative to you in the meantime.
    It is important to know your civil rights as well. To bolster your knowledge.

    I had been on my own disability and also on the Family Medical Leave Act that did some protecting. One thing it did not protect me from was the harrassments and not so nice remarks from some of the superiors. I as not able to work at home. I had to show up to work on part time basis. Logic was if I was to sick to come to work; I was to sick to work at home.

    Just some tidbits of my post treatment issues.
    Knowledge is always good. to prepare yourself.
    If you have the disabled label for now, I think, you are a protected class of persons. I think under the ADA.

    Take care and hope it will go well for you.

  • DLC1234
    DLC1234 Member Posts: 2
    kbc4869 congradulations on your recovery. I know how hard it is to get the energy back you need. Be patient. I have been off Chemo just one year now, I had 8 treatments. Then Surgery, the radiation and have just had my 3rd surgery for reconstruction. The good news is I am now cancer free. I do work full time and have all through treatment, I am single, no choice. It has been a challenge. Sounds like you do the same, just from home, doesn't matter if it is home or office, takes all your energy!

    I don't know what state you are from, but I would contact the department of labor and talk to them directly about your concerns. I know here they can't let you go for illness, but I have seen employeers suddenly find an employee not meeting their expectations, a coverup for wanting to let them go. I would definately follow your "gut" feelings and be proactive with the labor department. No one has to know you are checking with them, and you will know your rights ahead of time. Don't rely on just a Dr.'s note it may not be enough. God Bless you and continue getting well, be patient the energy will come back. Rest when you need to. I still go home and take short naps at noon, got me through a lot of days, and go to bed early. Make you company give you everything in writing. If you need to you may ask to see your complete file and what is in it. I believe by law they have to let you have a copy of everything. Again you can check this with the dept. of Labor.
  • kbc4869
    kbc4869 Member Posts: 159
    Ladies, thank you so much for your responses. I have made some calls, done some research and have received some very good information. I am much more comfortable and confident about my meeting.

    Again, much thanks and have a great Memorial Day weekend!