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I started this job last June and unfortunately have had a few ongoing issues after treatment, parastomal hernia/stoma, work made adjustments, reduced hrs to 30, hybrid working 3 days home 2 days office and a new chair but I have now had 2 health and wellness meetings due to sickness levels! Apparently the department are unable to continue hybrid and reduced hrs so been told that I am expected to return to full time in office by August! My operation for reversal and fix maybe 12-18 months! OH had said that hybrid working should stay in place until after operation but now the wait has increased they are changing their minds also telling me I’m not doing the job I was taken on for due to the adjustments that have been made…been made to feel like I’m not doing good work, colleagues are having to pick up my “slack”! 

I have just felt bullied and ended up in tears both meetings, I do have unison rep to help but surely this treatment is just not right? I have been disease free for 12 months but obviously it’s been life altering and I’m trying to do the best I can but now I just feel useless and bad at my job Disappointed and the other fact is I actually work in a hospital! 

can you offer me advice or would it be better for me to phone and speak to someone?

  • Hi  

    Thank you for contacting us here at Macmillan.  My name is Rachel and I am a Work Support Advisor on Macmillan’s National Support Line.  My team provides guidance on your rights at work when you are affected by cancer.  I am so sorry to read that you are experiencing issues with your employer.  I’d like to provide you with some information which I hope will help you.  Calling into our Support Line is always an option if you prefer and details of our contact details and opening hours can be found here.

    It is good to read that you have been able to return to work and that your employers have put reasonable adjustments in place to support this.  At this point in my guidance, it might be useful for me to provide some information about the legislation which underpins this.  In case you are not aware, the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (if you live in Northern Ireland) defines cancer as a disability.  This means that anyone with a cancer diagnosis considered to be disabled under the Act and providing the employer is aware of the diagnosis, should not discriminated against because of it. The employer is also duty-bound to make reasonable adjustments to support the employee at work.  This protection is lifelong and does not depend on an active cancer diagnosis. 

    I have attached a link our booklet Your Rights at Work which explains more about the Equality Act and how disabled employees are protected in the workplace. 

    In your situation, I can see that your employer has put in place reasonable adjustments (hybrid working, reduced hours and a chair) to support you at work but that these have been reviewed and that you have been told that these are no longer possible.  I can also see from your comments that you have attended meetings relating to your sickness absence. 

    It is not clear from your message why your employer feels that your current working arrangement is unsustainable. Reasonable adjustments do not have to be temporary and can be a solution for the longer term, or even permanent. Rather than focus solely on business needs, employers should consider the role reasonable adjustments play in supporting a disabled employee to remain at or return to work. It would be useful, working with your union rep, to understand more about why your employer considers that your role cannot be carried out using the reasonable adjustments they have agreed so far and reiterate your request for them to be extended.

    If your employer rejects your request, you may wish, with the support of your union, to raise a grievance.  Failure to make reasonable adjustments could be classed as disability discrimination.

    I am unsure if your employer has taken any action against you following the meetings you have had regarding your sickness absence.  If your employer uses trigger points to monitor sickness absence, they could provide reasonable adjustments by

    • not counting some or all sickness absence related to a disability towards those trigger points
    • by increasing the number of absences that would trigger a review
    • by choosing to record a disability related absence separately to other types of sickness absence. It might be called disability leave or disability-related sickness absence for example.

    Disciplining for sickness related absence could be discriminatory.  Absences should only be taken into account if the employer is satisfied that all reasonable adjustments have been made.    I would encourage you to discuss this with your union rep.

    I do hope this helps.  Please do contact us again if we can support you further.


    Rachel, 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.