If you have received a breast cancer diagnosis, you may worry about how will it affect your work situation. Dealing with a diagnosis of cancer is hard enough without fearing repercussions at work. The good news is that there are laws to protect people with medical conditions. The most important of these laws are the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may be covered by one or both federal laws. If you live and work in New Jersey, you may also be covered by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). It is important to understand your legal rights before discussing your medical condition with your boss or anyone else at work. Consult an experienced South Jersey employment lawyer to be sure of your situation.
Family and Medical Leave Act
The FMLA allows employees to leave work for medical treatment or to care for an ill family member without the fear of losing their job. The Act covers those who work for a company employing at least 50 people who live within a 75-mile radius of that company. You must have been with the company for at least 12 months and worked more than 1,250 hours during that time or you cannot make an FMLA request for time off.
If you meet these requirements, the FMLA allows employees with a serious medical condition to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. You are not required to take it all at once, but rather the time can be taken intermittently at your discretion. The FMLA guarantees your job will be there when you return to work. It is possible that it may not be the exact same job you had before, but it must be comparable to the position you were in when you took your leave. For example, if you left as a manager, then you will return to the same or similar managerial position.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The Act protects workers with disabilities from discrimination on the job. Diagnoses of cancer are evaluated on a case by case basis as to whether they qualify as a disability. If your cancer or the effects of treatment hinder major life activities, then you are likely covered by the ADA. You cannot be fired for your condition and your employer is required to make reasonable accommodations for your disability. Examples of reasonable accommodations include allowing time off for medical appointments and treatment, flex scheduling or working from home, or changing your work load temporarily.
If you had cancer in the past but have recovered, you are still protected under the ADA. Your employer cannot discriminate against you because he or she perceives that you are sick, or because you used to be sick. This applies to all aspects of your employment including training, promotions, pay, benefits, job assignments, and tenure. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against workers who file a protection claim under the ADA.
South Jersey Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect Workers from Disability Discrimination
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or have any other disability, you have the right to not be discriminated against because of your condition. At Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C., our South Jersey employment lawyers have been at the forefront of fighting discrimination for over 30 years. Call us at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation about your case or complete our online contact form. We serve clients throughout South Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area as well as southeastern Pennsylvania and New York.