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From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition
BOX 6-3 Examples of Accommodations of Individuals with Cancer
An engineer working for a large industrial company had to undergo treatment for cancer during working hours. She was provided a flexible schedule in order to attend therapy and also continue to work full-time.
A machine operator who was undergoing radiation therapy for cancer was accommodated by having his workstation moved. The move transferred the individual to an area of the plant where no radiation exposure existed.
A warehouse worker whose job involved maintaining and delivering supplies was having difficulty with the physical demands of his job due to fatigue from cancer treatment. The individual was accommodated with a three-wheeled scooter to reduce walking. The warehouse was also rearranged to reduce climbing and reaching.
A secretary with cancer was having difficulty working full-time due to fatigue. Her employer accommodated her by allowing her to work part-time and allowing her to take frequent rest breaks while working.
A psychiatric nurse with cancer was experiencing difficulty dealing with job-related stress. He was accommodated with a temporary transfer and was referred to the employer’s employee assistance program for emotional support and stress management tools.
A lawyer with cancer was experiencing lapses in concentration due to the medication she was taking. Her employer accommodated her by giving her uninterrupted time to work. She was also allowed to work at home 2 days a week.
SOURCE: Job Accommodation Network (Loy and Batiste, 2004).
functions of the job. A job offer may be contingent on passing a relevant medical exam, provided that all prospective employees are subject to the same exam. An employer may ask detailed questions about health only after making a job offer.
Cancer survivors who need extra time or help to work are entitled to a “reasonable accommodation.” Common accommodations for cancer survivors include changes in work hours or duties to accommodate medical appointments and treatment side effects (Box 6-3). An employer does not have to make changes that would impose an “undue hardship” on the business or other workers. “Undue hardship” refers to any accommodation that would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. For example, an employer may replace a survivor who has to miss an extended period of work (e.g., 6 months or longer) that cannot be performed by a temporary employee.
Some employers express concerns about the costs of accommodations and whether accommodations interfere with typical work schedules and