What to Do if You’ve Been Fired for Having Cancer

What to Do if You’ve Been Fired for Having Cancer

Getting fired for having an illness beyond your control, like cancer, seems unimaginable, yet it happens to people all the time. Sometimes people get fired for requesting time off to receive medical treatment, while others get fired before they can request that time off.

Did you get fired for having cancer? If so, you might have a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer. Cancer is considered a protected disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and therefore, your employer is obligated to provide you with reasonable accommodations. This not only covers your medical appointments but also healing time from those treatments. For example, if you receive radiation therapy, you’ll need time to heal from that and you’re entitled to that time.

“Your employer needs to provide reasonable accommodation during and after your cancer treatment, providing modifications which allow you to perform your essential job functions. In the case of radiation, the accommodation required would include time off work for healing,” says Eric A. Panitz of Wrongful Termination Law Group in Los Angeles.

If your employer fired you for requesting time off for medical appointments, treatment, or even recovery, you could have a case. If this situation applies to you, here’s what you need to do.

Contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney Immediately

Connecting with a lawyer immediately is paramount. The longer you wait, the longer you’ll delay getting the compensation you deserve.

When you talk to a wrongful termination lawyer, they’ll ask you for details about your situation. Hopefully, you’ve documented everything important related to your termination, including emails, phone calls, and comments made in person by your boss and other coworkers. Having these things documented will make the process easier.

An attorney will tell you if they think you have a case, and if so, what your options are to proceed. If you work with an attorney who doesn’t require payment of fees upfront, you should pursue a lawsuit if they say you have a case. Attorneys are picky about what cases they take on contingency and won’t take on a case like this unless they think they can win. There’s no guarantee, but when a lawyer is willing to invest their time into your lawsuit without first getting paid, that’s a good sign.

Document Your Experiences

To the best of your ability, document your experiences surrounding your termination. What did your boss say to you in the days or weeks prior to firing you? Did they say anything that might be considered discrimination, or threatening? Did they make side comments about you for requesting time off that made you feel like you were inconveniencing the company? All of these fine details matter, so document everything you recall.

Organize your documentation in chronological order if possible. If you have too many emails or documented conversations, create a separate summary of each incident and order the summary chronologically.

Wait before Filing a Labor Board Claim

If you were fired and didn’t get your last paycheck on time, or if it wasn’t complete, according to your local laws, wait before filing a claim with the labor board. Talk to an attorney first. If you were fired for having cancer, you have a bigger claim than just penalties for not receiving your last paycheck in full or on time. Filing a claim with the labor board could reduce the compensation you can get for that particular infraction from a lawsuit.

The penalties you’ll be awarded for not getting paid correctly could be much higher in your lawsuit than what the labor board will provide if it’s considered discrimination. However, if the matter has already been resolved through the labor board, you can bring it up in your lawsuit, but you might not receive additional compensation.

Do You Suspect You Might be Getting Fired?

If you haven’t been fired, but suspect termination is imminent, there are some things you can do. First, submit a written accommodation request to your employer and give it directly to your HR manager in person. This way, there can be no question of when and how you delivered your request. Make sure your request adheres to the ADA guidelines.

From there, document every interaction you have with your employer as it happens, just in case you need to reference these details later.

Don’t let Wrongful Termination Go – Pursue Your Claim in Court

Getting fired for needing time to get treatment for cancer isn’t legal. If this happened to you, don’t let it go. You deserve compensation for this illegal act. Connect with a wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible to see if you have a case to pursue.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.