Work problems



My partner was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2013. We both work for the same company and my partner made our employer aware of her diagnosis immediately. She has been employed by the company for less than a year and is not covered under their company sick pay scheme.


In December my partner asked if time off could be taken as paid to cover the radical mastecomy op, the recovery and future treatment. She was told no at this point as they wouldn’t do this for anyone else.


At the beginning of this month (March) I was doing research into this area and found that cancer patients were covered by the Equality Act and that reasonable adjustments should be made and that the employer should have made steps themselves to consult with my partner - which they did not. I sent them a copy of the Employ leaflet which Breast Cancer Care have created which details her rights and the recommendations for employers. They thanked me for bringing this to their attention (they did not know this was the case).


My partner then asked again to have the mastectomy, recovery and ongoing treatment covered as a reasonable adjustment. They have agreed that appointments, such as blood tests, chemo and radiotherapy, but they wouldn’t do anything for the time taken for the operation.


As a result of the first response to her request for this back in December, we sold our second car as we couldn’t afford to run two cars with my partner losing income. We now know this needn’t have happened.


My question here is, because of the company’s lack of knowledge of the Equality Act we feel we have suffered unnecessarily and wonder whether we would have any grounds for a complaint.


It’s hard enough for my partner certainly, and after imformally bringing our complaints to HR, they have dismissed them and only offered an apology.


Any advice would be gratefully received.


Thank you.

Dear BJ86

The leaflet you refer to is no longer being produced by Breast Cancer Care as Macmillan provide excellent information covering all cancers including breast cancer.

If you have any questions you would like to chat through please call our helpline 0808 800 6000 Monday to Friday 9-5 and Saturday 10-2 where there is always someone with expertise and a listening ear ready to take your call.

Best wishes


Forum Coordinator