Returning to work

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 Hello there   I have had a pre cancer of the larynx  for 8 years   I've had 10 microlaryngoscopys and in October last year I had a partial  laryngectomy  as cancer had spread  I do not drink and have never smoked . Because  of my laryngectomy  my airway is restricted  now  ( size 5)  and can hardly breathe  I've been sent to the works doctor who unbelievably  said I have a 1% chance of my cancer going  away.  I've put in for ill health retirement  . But I've been told my surgeon might say I'm having difficulty  with breathing and so therefore work   but i don't know if this would intital me to teir one pension or not . I'm just off phone to employer south Lanarkshire  Council  and my boss has told me we don't want you back as you could come back and 6 months or earlier  your cancers back and your off again . So as you can see I really don't want to go back to that environment .I've been there 23years and hardly been off .  TIA 

  • Hi  

    It's Megan here from Macmillan's Online Community team. Thank you for posting a question to our Work Support Advisers, I am just responding to your message to let you know that our Work Support team has seen your question and are working to respond to your question as soon as they can. We hope you will find it helpful to hear from our Work Support team and are able to access the right support.

    In the meantime, we hope you'll find lots of support from reading other posts in the Ask an Expert section and by posting in our Community groups. If you need any help using the Online Community, please don't hesitate to email  

    Best wishes, 

    Macmillan's Online Community team

  • Thank you very much for getting  back to me 

  • Hi Barneyboy

    Thank you for contacting us on the Online Community. My name is Linda and I’m a Work Support adviser on the Macmillan Support Line. Apologies for the delay in responding.  My team discusses employment law rights with people who are affected by cancer. It sounds as if you are having a difficult time with your Employer at the moment.


    As you have a cancer diagnosis you are considered to have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland). This means your employer should not discriminate against you because of your cancer. Your employer is also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work. This protection is lifelong and does not depend on an active cancer diagnosis.

    Your Manager may not discriminate against you and if you wish to return to work, provided your medical team agree with this then you should be given support at work to allow you to do this. You do have the right to ask for Reasonable Adjustments at work such as a phased return to work on reduced hours or on lighter duties if needed. It would be incorrect for an assumption to be made that you will be off sick again. I know that you say you do not wish to work in that environment but you must be treated fairly at work and if you are unhappy with the manner in which your Manager has spoken to you then you can also raise a formal Grievance. This means that a more senior Manager will investigate your concerns with your Manager and the comments he has made.


    The Citizens Advice Bureau have some Guidelines on raising a Grievance at work.

    CAB raising a grievance at work

    You do not mention if you are a member of a Trade Union but if you are I would advise that you speak to your Union Representative for support too.

    I would not advise that you  resign from your job as you have built up valuable employment rights at work. 

    I notice that you mention having applied for Ill Health Early Retirement. We have a Team of Financial Guides here at Macmillan who can support you with any questions you may have about the process around this as well as the various Tiers of Ill Health Retirement that may be offered . The Financial Guides are available on 0808 808 0000 Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm option 1, option 2 and option 2. They are also available via webchat here or you can email them here

    I hope this has been useful information but please do not hesitate to get back in touch with us if you require any further support.


    Kind Regards


    Work Support Advisor


    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email

  • Thank you for getting  back to me . I'm back into hospital  this week so I will have a better idea of where I stand .  The surgeon  had mentioned  he would give me a letter for my work and occupational  doctor  whether  that's to stay in work or otherwise  . Thank you