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Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: Cancer Survivors Experience Disability Discrimination During Interviews

June 1st, 2017

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: Cancer Survivors Experience Disability Discrimination During InterviewsCancer is a life-altering experience; looking for a job after surviving cancer may be just as life-altering. Although a prospective employer generally cannot ask questions about health status, few would suspect that surviving cancer would be a deal-breaker. Unfortunately, research indicates otherwise.

Research Related to Cancer Survivors and Employment Discrimination

In a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted an experiment that seemed to indicate that employment discrimination exists for persons who have survived cancer. The study used undercover researchers and doctored resumes to limit potential bias. The researchers were three women and two men in their twenties. They were randomly assigned to apply in person for jobs at 121 retail stores located in shopping malls. The stores were carefully screened to ensure that each was actively hiring. Online applications were not used.

In conducting the study, some of the researchers either stated on their resume that they were cancer survivors or wore a hat indicating the same. The goal was to determine whether bias existed or not; the results indicate that it does. About one-fifth of the “cancer” applicants received a call back while just over one-third of the control group received a call. This striking difference in results demonstrates that hiring preferences are given to applicants with no history of cancer.

In another part of the study, the team discovered that cancer survivors tend to disclose their medical history at higher rates than others. In addition, they also surveyed hiring managers and found that most regarded cancer survivors as warm, but less competent than other applicants. This stereotype could account for the bias in hiring.

Non-Disclosure Versus Disclosure of Health History When Interviewing

This research will give pause to anyone surviving cancer and returning to the workforce. No one wants to be the victim of disability discrimination, but applicants may want to avoid disclosing what they have been doing for the months to years between their last job and now. This can pose a significant problem for some.

Although health matters may not be asked of prospective employees, an employer will want to know more about the applicant’s job history. Because of the cancer, there is likely a considerable gap in that history. This is a hurdle that most will cross by telling their story. In some cases, the survival story may lead to an offer, but if the research is accurate, an offer of employment is more unlikely.

On the other side of the equation, many cancer survivors would not want to work for an employer who would discriminate on this basis. So, while getting a job may be more difficult, the job that is found is likely to be with a higher quality employer. Deciding how to handle this hurdle can be difficult, especially when bills are piling up.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Help Cancer Survivors Fight Disability Discrimination

Proving employment discrimination can be a challenge, particularly for job applicants. If you are a cancer survivor and believe you are the victim of disability discrimination, be it at a current employer or any other, let us look at your case. The Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. help employees fight discrimination. Contact us online or call 215-569-1999 now for a confidential review of your case. From our Center City Philadelphia offices, we help clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.



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