Tara S. on August 7, 2022
So in 2020, I lost my retail position due to my cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed with a stage 1b melanoma, which has been clear for 2 years now. I also have a mental health diagnosis that I am actively working through with a therapist and go to weekly appointments for. As far as my cancer, I am supposed to see a plastic surgeon for a removal later this month but on-going I see my dermatologist every 6 months and my oncologist every 6. How do I bring this up to my employer? It's a hybrid position once I'm trained up, but these on-going appointments aren't going to change and I'm scared to bring up anything to them, how do I broach this to let them know I'm fully capable of doing my job but that these on-going appointments are still critical.
Aug 7, 2022
sorry, dermatologist is every 3, oncology every 6.
Nicole Jarvis, LMSW
Sep 6, 2022
Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:
Thank you for reaching out to Cancer and Careers! I want to apologize for the delay in response, it appears the notification for your post had been accidentally filtered to a spam folder.
It can certainly feel scary to enter into a job search when you feel like you're asking for things right away, but that is not a deal breaker for many companies and often an employer is willing to be more flexible if there is a reasonable plan in place. If you haven't already, try doing a bit of research on the company using Glassdoor, see what other employees have remarked on, in terms of the workplace flexibility and schedules. If you need to take 2-3 hours out of your day to go to these appointments (which aren't that frequent, I might add), perhaps your employer would be open to you working a few extra hours in the evenining of those days, or making the hours up on other days of the week? I also want to add, you don't necessarily need to divulge all of your health information in order to make these requests. You can be vague and let them know you have standing appointments every 3 and 6 months that cannot be missed or scheduled outside of work hours. It's always a good idea to approach your employer with at least an outline of a plan, so the employer doesn't feel like the pressure is on them to make something work. If you bring forth a plan that will benefit both you and the company, the likelihood of them agreeing is much higher than say, if you said here is my issue what do you suggest we do?
Additionally, you can look into workplace protection laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and see if you might qualify for what are called reasonable accommodations. You can read more about the law here, and requesting accommodations here. The Job Accommodation Network is also a wonderful resource for figuring out what might work best and learning more about what accommodations are and how they can be requested at work.
I'm happy to answer any further questions or talk through some approaches if you're interested! You can feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org any time.
Nicole Jarvis, LMSW
Assistant Director of Programs
Cancer and Careers
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