My wife just started chemo for stage 2 breast cancer. She will be having a double mastectomy after the 6 months of chemo is done due to a rare gene marker (forget the name of it) that indicates she could have more cancer in the future. She works for a small clinic with less than 50 employees in California. According to the clinic, due to their small size they are not required (nor do they have) FMLA. They are saying she'll need to work 30 hours a week to maintain her job and benefits. I understand times are tough and everyone is struggling, but I am blown away at the inability to modify her work schedule so she can keep her job. She's expected to make a full recovery after reconstructive surgery, I suspect about a year total before she's completely able to resume full time work, perhaps not that long. But as it looks now, she will be terminated in one month because she is unable to work much at all right now. She is hyper-sensitive to medicines, so chemo is really taking a toll on her, this being just the first week we're not sure if this will continue or not each week or so after a treatment. At any rate, if she loses her job, the $1600 or so she'll make on unemployment won't even cover the costs of Cobra, and we're struggling as it is. Is this really legal? Can someone who is already in treatment for cancer lose their job and possibly their benefits?
I am working 80+ hours a week with four kids, meals, etc trying to keep things afloat and have had very little time to research all the large amounts of ADA and other articles out there to give me an idea of what her options are. Can she go out on disability and if so, does that pay more than unemployment, will it cover her medical costs while under treatment? Is there something like social security benefits that would help in this case?
Thank you for any thoughts/ideas on what our options are or what we should/can do.