Fired Due to Breast Cancer Experienced Trial Attorneys


Fired Due to Breast Cancer

The Prevalence of Breast Cancer
Cancer occurs when cells grow uncontrollably, and breast cancer can develop in one or both breasts, originating in different parts of the breast. Breast cancer accounts for about 15% of all new cancer cases, with approximately 13% of women being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. There are nearly 4 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including those currently undergoing treatment and those who have completed treatment.

First Name
Last Name
I have read the disclaimer*


Laws That Prohibit Discrimination, Including Firing a Person, Due to Breast Cancer
It is unlawful to fire someone because they have cancer. Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this applies if an employer has 15 or more employees. Every state in the U.S. has laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on disability, including cancer. In California, protections are particularly strong. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (California Government Code section 12900, et seq.) expressly prohibits discrimination in the workplace (including firing a person) based on a medical condition if the employer has five or more employees. Under FEHA, "medical condition" includes any health impairment related to or associated with a diagnosis of cancer. Consequently, you have rights as an employee who has disclosed your cancer diagnosis to your employer.

Protections against discrimination, including firing due to cancer, are crucial. Many people need to continue working after a cancer diagnosis for financial reasons and because work can be central to their psychological health and identity. Continuing to work or retaining employment status while on leave can help a cancer survivor maintain a sense of fulfillment, productivity, and normalcy. These protections are particularly vital because lower-income women often suffer more discrimination than their higher-paid counterparts, who may receive more accommodation from employers.

Breast Cancer and Work
The impact of a breast cancer diagnosis on work life varies from person to person. A cancer diagnosis affects physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and should not threaten job and financial security. The extent of this impact depends on the type of work, overall health, cancer stage, and treatment nature. Some may manage their work life despite the diagnosis, while others may need accommodations like time off, flexible schedules, or working from home. Employers should support employees with reasonable accommodations, such as allowing short breaks, reassigning workstations, or reducing workload. The reality of working while undergoing treatment may differ from expectations, and understanding employers are crucial.

Breast Cancer and Being Wrongfully Fired From Your Job
Unfortunately, some employers harbor biases against individuals diagnosed with cancer. You might face discrimination, such as being passed up for promotions, moved to less desirable departments, subjected to harassment, or even fired. Firing due to breast cancer is unlawful, regardless of the terminology used (termination, separation, layoff) or any pretextual reasons given by the employer. You are particularly vulnerable to being fired if you need significant time off under the California Family Rights Act (California Government Code sections 12945.1, 12945.2, and 19702.3) or as an accommodation under FEHA for treatment and recovery.

If you are fired due to breast cancer, you may want to sue your former employer for employment discrimination under FEHA. Be aware of strict time requirements for filing a lawsuit and obtaining a right-to-sue notice from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. To successfully pursue a discrimination case, a thorough analysis of your situation is necessary to counter any claims by your employer that the firing was for non-discriminatory reasons. Therefore, if you have been fired due to breast cancer, it is highly advisable to contact an experienced employment attorney, like those at SAW LAW GROUP.