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Returning To Work - Your Rights


You are protected by the law when continuing or returning to work after a cancer diagnosis. This short article explains some of this...


Under the Equality Act 2010, if you have or have ever had cancer the law considers you to be disabled. This means you cannot be treated less favourably than other people (who do not have cancer) because you have cancer, or for reasons connected to the cancer. If you were, it would be classed as discrimination.


This act protects employees in England, Scotland and Wales from being discriminated against because of their disability.

If you have cancer, employers are required to make reasonable adjustments (discussed in another article here) that can help you continue to work, return to work, and have time off for medical appointments or for treatment and recovery.


If you start a new job after your treatment has ended, employers are not permitted to ask questions about candidates’ health during the recruitment process unless your health is relevant to the job. Once offered the job, you can be asked questions about your health and it is important that any direct questions are answered truthfully, otherwise this can be seen as misleading your employer and may affect your position later, if your health or related needs change. An employer cannot withdraw their initial offer of a job because you have had a diagnosis of cancer.


If you are self-employed you may not be entitled to the same support as an employed person and you may not have the same legal protection against discrimination. Macmillan cover this topic in some depth on their website: Self-employment and cancer. They have also created a booklet on the subject which you can access here: Self-employment and cancer booklet. You can also ask your Mummy’s Star Information and Support Worker for a paper copy.


Further reading on this topic:

How Will I Know If I Am Ready To Go Back To Work?

First Steps To Organising A Return To Work With Your Current Employer

Reasonable Adjustments For Potential Symptoms Experienced On Your Return To Work

Your Rights On Returning to Work

Who Can Support You On Your Return To Work including Unsupportive Employers






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