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Employee rights

Posted by


im after a bit of guidance as my employer has decided to pull their support and are expecting me to go back full time. 

I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer July 18 and since then I have had a gastric sleeve and a rather large retrosternal multinodular goitre. I was barely coping before the first operation in feb let alone that my latest surgery was 5 weeks ago I just don’t know what to do or where to turn. Prior to my surgery in feb I had no time off as a result of the cancer or side effects even though they were there I kept pushing. I now feel that I have to push you health because they say they have been patient and supportive. 

Any advice would be beneficial right now. 


Polly - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi bministox21

I am sorry to read about your problems at work. I hope that I can help you deal with them.

It is important to remember that cancer is a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland). This means the employer is under a legal obligation to help you at work and to make reasonable adjustments for as long as you need help. This can include lighter duties or a temporary reduction in your hours.

You mention that your employer wants you to go back to work full-time, but you are living with the longer-term effects of surgery and feel under pressure because they have said they have already supported you with your health.

I suggest the following approach:

1.    Give your employer positive messages, for example tell them that you hope and wish to be full time soon but at present you are not well enough. Confirm with them that you have a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (in Northern Ireland)

2.    Ask for a fit note from your GP/Medical team which confirms that you can do some work, but you need reduced hours/lighter duties until you have recovered from surgery.

3.    You can ask for an Occupational Health referral because they can make helpful recommendations about managing your health and doing your job. If your employer cannot access these services the NHS provide a low cost service Here

Your employer may be able to terminate your employment if you are not capable of doing your job, but they should first follow a fair procedure which should include looking at the possibility of you returning to your normal duties within a reasonable time frame, and they should consider any reasonable adjustments that would assist you. If you have been treated unfairly and you have two years’ service (or one year in Northern Ireland) and they dismiss you then you can claim unfair dismissal as well as disability discrimination (1 or 2 years don’t apply to disability discrimination- you don’t need any service)  at an Employment Tribunal. This claim would need to made within 3 months (less a day) from the dismissal date There is further information about fair and unfair dismissals as well as discipline and grievance on the ACAS website in the links above.   


If you need talk about work please call the Work Support Team on 0808 808 000 (selecting option 1,2,3) . Our lines are open Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm. Alternatively you can email us using this link www.macmillan.org.uk/.../ask-macmillan-form.html


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