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Bucks County Discrimination Lawyers: Cancer Discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act

April 19th, 2017

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prevents discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. This can be in reference to chronic, lifelong disabilities, or debilitating illnesses that an employee may suffer. Employees suffering from cancer are protected in several ways. In addition to protections regarding confidentiality of medical information, the Act also provides detailed guidance regarding an employee’s rights or obligations to inform employers of their illness. The Act further prohibits employers from making employment decisions on the basis of a prospective or current employee’s disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who suffer from cancer.

Obtaining/Disclosing Medical Information as a Job Applicant and Employee

The protections in the ADA extend to job applicants as well as current employees. An employer may not ask a job applicant questions about their medical conditions, nor can they require an applicant to have a medical examination. Questions employers cannot ask applicants include:

  • Whether he or she has or has previously suffered from cancer
  • Whether he or she is under treatment
  • Whether he or she has ever taken leave for medical treatment
  • How much sick leave he or she has taken in the past year

However, employers may ask questions that are potentially health-related provided they are relevant to the position. These include:

  • Whether the applicant can work rotating shifts
  • Whether the applicant can lift up to 50 pounds
  • Whether the applicant can travel out of town

Even if an employee voluntarily reveals that they have or have previously suffered from cancer, employers are not permitted to ask follow-up questions related to this topic.

Employers may have the right to request medical records from employees, or to ask if their illness would impact their performance, but only under certain circumstances. Such circumstances include those in which the employee’s health condition could create a safety hazard for the employee and others.

Accommodations for Employees with Cancer

Employers are expected to provide certain reasonable accommodations to employees suffering from cancer. These accommodations vary depending on the individual but may include:

  • Leave for doctors’ appointments and treatments
  • Periodic breaks
  • Use of a private area for taking medication
  • Modified work schedule
  • Permission to work from home

Bucks County Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Fight for Workers Facing Unfair Treatment

If you feel that you have suffered discrimination in the workplace, whether due to illness, disability, or any other factor, you do not have to fight alone. The Bucks County discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. are ready to fight for you. To learn more, complete our online form or call 215-569-1999 to schedule your free consultation.

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