I Was Fired Because I Have Cancer: Can I Sue?

There are over 1.5 million new cases of cancer each year. The need for lawyers to represent patients with cancer has never been more evident. Cancer is one of the most daunting and frightening diagnoses a patient can receive from his or her doctor. The anxiety and depression that ensues from the diagnosis is common. Not only is the patient affected, but so is his or her family members. However, when an employer terminates, retaliates, or otherwise discriminates against a cancer patient, life get even tougher. By having an experienced attorney by your side, you can hold your employer liable for disability discrimination.

Some Questions You Are Probably Asking Yourself Include:

  • Can I force my employer to give me time to attend chemotherapy treatments?
  • Can I be fired for having cancer?
  • Is cancer a recognized disability under California or Federal law?
  • Am I able to sue my employer for firing me because I have cancer?

Cancer Disability Discrimination

Cancer disability discrimination occurs when your employer treats you less favorably than other employees because of a cancer diagnosis. There are numerous laws under California and Federal regulations that allow cancer patients to take leave. These laws also protect cancer patients from wrongful termination and discrimination. These laws are:

  1. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA forbids discrimination based on an actual, perceived, or history of disability. Cancer is recognized as a disability under the ADA
  2. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA an individual diagnosed with cancer can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. They can also maintain their health insurance benefits while on leave and they can return to a similar or same position when they return.
  3. The Federal Rehabilitation Act. Under the Federal Rehabilitation, employers cannot discriminate because of a person’s cancer. This act is similar to the ADA, but it only applies to federal workers.
  4. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA is a CA law that prohibits discrimination based on a disability. Cancer is a recognized disability under FEHA.
  5. California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA is similar to the FMLA. However, there are certain extra protections that the CFRA provides.

How To Deal With An Employer Who Discriminates Because of Cancer

The first thing you should do upon learning of a cancer diagnosis is to notify your employer in writing of your needed treatment regimen. Another important thing to do is to keep your doctor informed as well. Tell your doctor exactly what the most important functions of your job are. After you receive your writtendoctors’ notes, hand them to human resources in writing. Sometimes an employer will flat out deny your cancer restrictions just based on the fact that you did not give the accommodations in writing.

Next thing you should do is to let your employer know that you will need accommodations. Employers are generally required to provide “reasonable” accommodations. Reasonable include, but are not limited to:

  • Time off to see your doctor or to heal from treatment
  • Short break during work to recollect yourself
  • A change in your work schedule
  • Handing some of your tasks off to another employee until you can fully do it yourself
  • Some changes to the work atmosphere, such as changing the temperature in the room

What If I Have Been Denied The Accommodations I Asked For

If you have been denied reasonable accommodations, you may have a couple causes of action for your lawsuit. The causes of action available to you under federal and CA state law include:

  1. Disability discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), Gov. Code 12940.Failure to accommodate is a form of discrimination under California law.
  2. Failure to provide reasonable accommodations in violation of the FEHA, Gov. Code 12940.Failure to accommodate disabilities is separate and distinct cause of action under California law.
  3. Failure to engage in the interactive process in violation of the FEHA, Gov. Code 12940(n).
  4. Failure to provide a workplace free of retaliation in violation of the FEHA, Gov. Code §12940(k).
  5. Wrongful termination in violation of public policy, see, generally, Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 27 Cal. 3d 167 (1980); Foley v. Interactive Data Corp., 47 Cal. 3d 654 (1988)

Failure to reasonably accommodate an employee is against the law, and an employee may be able to recover damages. An employee can also bring a claim for failure to engage in the interactive process. Additionally, under FEHA, the mere act of requesting a reasonable accommodation is protected activity and an employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against a person for requesting the accommodation – regardless of whether the request was granted. See Failure to Accommodate claims.

Talk to a Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Lawyer today. We offer free consultations and you pay nothing unless we win.

The lawyers at Miracle Mile Law Group are specially trained in handling disability discrimination lawsuits. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your disability, or if your boss is unreasonably denying you the reasonable accommodations you are legally entitled to, contact a Los Angeles disability discrimination attorney today. Having a lawyer by your side when trying to prove that you have been discriminated against due to your disability is essential. The lawyers here at Miracle Mile Law Group are trained at identifying what to look for when going up against your employer. These cases are very time sensitive so give us a call at (888) 244-0706 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation. Remember, we do not take a single dollar unless WE WIN!