Is Cancer Considered a Disability Under the ADA?March 22, 2023
Cancer is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA safeguards people with disabilities from discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, such as workplace adjustments or additional days off, for individuals living with cancer. These accommodations must be made in order to ensure that cancer patients are able to access their jobs like everyone else. Employers cannot take adverse action against an employee who discloses their medical condition, even if it is related to cancer.
As a cancer patient or survivor, you have certain rights in the workplace. As an applicant for a job, you may not be asked about your health history unless there is visible evidence of a disability which could affect your current ability to perform the job. Even if you mention your cancer diagnosis or that you previously suffered from cancer, the company cannot ask follow-up questions or remove you from consideration for the job based on that information.
When you become an employee, your employer is prohibited from discriminating against you based on your cancer diagnosis or history of cancer. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to cancer patients, such as flexible working hours and safe working conditions. This applies even if it requires some change or expense on the part of the employer. However, if an accommodation poses an undue hardship on the employer, then it may be excluded.
In some cases, caregivers of cancer survivors may also be protected from discrimination in the workplace. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on the relationship or association with someone with a disability. Employers are forbidden from assuming that performance of one’s job can be affected by caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations?
A reasonable accommodation is an alteration or adaptation made to a job or workplace that allows a person with a disability to perform their job duties. It could involve changes to the physical environment, the provision of equipment, job restructuring, part-time working, or other adjustments. The accommodations must be practical and appropriate for the individual’s needs and should not place an undue burden on the employer.
An employer must provide reasonable accommodations for an employee living with cancer. These can include but are not limited to:
- Workplace adjustments.
- Additional days off to reduce fatigue.
- Providing a safe working environment.
- Ensuring the employee has suitable equipment.
- Flexible scheduling for medical treatments or doctor’s appointments.
- Assistance with lifting or carrying objects.
- A modified work schedule.
- Assistance in the case of limited mobility.
- Changes to job duties that may be more suited to the individual’s needs.
Employers must provide protections for cancer patients and survivors in the workplace, which include but are not limited to:
- Non-discrimination of job applicants or current employees due to their cancer diagnosis or history of cancer.
- Provision of reasonable accommodations.
- Protection against discrimination based on relationship or association with someone with a disability.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Protect Your Rights
Your employer cannot take adverse employment action against you because of your cancer diagnosis or history of cancer. To help you protect your rights at work, speak with our South Jersey employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.