Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a daunting experience. The added stress of managing work commitments, sharing the news with employers, and facing potential bias can be overwhelming. With nearly 1.7 million new cancer cases reported annually by the National Cancer Institute, over 40% of those diagnosed are working adults.
The silver lining for Californians in the workforce diagnosed with cancer is that both state and federal legislations shield them against disability bias. Let’s delve deeper into understanding these rights, and if you need legal advice, PLBH is here to support you at (800) 435-7542.
Protection Through Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enforces that no employer or colleague can discriminate against those with disabilities. Under the ADA, conditions like cancer are recognized as disabilities. Therefore, knowing that an employee has cancer or any grave ailment shouldn’t lead to unfair treatment.
Furthermore, the law extends its protection even if you take time off to care for a cancer-affected loved one. Discrimination can manifest in various forms, including:
- Unjustified terminations
- Pay cuts
- Arbitrarily altered work schedules
- Violation of paid leave rights
- Job application rejections
- Exclusion from meetings
If you face discrimination owing to your cancer diagnosis, the path to justice begins by lodging a complaint with your company’s Human Resources department. If the company doesn’t address the issue, escalating the matter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the next step. An investigation will follow, and if your employer is found guilty, they could face penalties.
Rights to Medical Leave
Should you need a medical hiatus linked to your cancer diagnosis, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures that you can avail up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave yearly without jeopardizing your job. Employers are mandated by the FMLA to grant this leave while maintaining the employee’s health insurance.
Moreover, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows your family – including parents, siblings, grandparents, spouses, or domestic partners – to seek medical leave while attending to your needs. The CFRA doesn’t guarantee job security, but it does offer monetary benefits to sustain your family during this challenging phase.
Just as the FMLA does, the CFRA obliges companies to provide up to 12 weeks of leave (paid or unpaid) annually, given that they have a minimum of 50 employees. Both the patient and family caregivers are entitled to this benefit without any repercussions.
Eligibility Criteria for Disability Insurance
There might be circumstances where cancer impacts your ability to work, either temporarily or permanently. In such scenarios, you might qualify for disability insurance, either through California’s program or the federal Social Security system. The state program can compensate eligible workers with 60-70% of their average wages if they’re temporarily unable to work due to an ailment.
In instances where cancer is recurrent, aggressive, or terminal, Social Security Disability benefits come into play. If the side effects of your cancer treatment impede your ability to work, you could be eligible for continuous benefits covering medical costs and a part of your monthly income for a specified duration.
For detailed insights on employment law or to collaborate with a dedicated attorney to champion your rights, reach out to PLBH at (800) 435-7542. We’re committed to ensuring you’re treated fairly during such a pivotal phase in your life.