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Oesophageal Patients Association
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can work finish me????

Hi sorry to ask on this site but i thought someone may know.....I went back to work 6 weeks ago and was told they had a policy stating that i need to be back working fulltime within 4 weeks, so i have managed to do so but finding it very tiring, certain aspects of my job i am not prepared to do just yet like going offsite with students and have been told by my surgeon that i cannot push a wheelchair or do any manual handling for 3 years. I have now been told that no such policy exists, but that they can finish me as i was off work for 12 months and am unable to fulfill all aspects of my job role. I feel really upset that they pushed me into going back full time too soon and that they lied to me. Does anyone know if they can sack me and where do i stand under the DDA ? i would really appreciate anthing anyone can tell me


16 Replies

Hi Margie,

I am not an employment law expert in anyway so cannot advise you, but below would be the route I would take if I was in this situation, also avoid direct confrontation and ask CAB to mediate on your behalf if they can.

First port of call should be your local citizens advice bureau for the legal side side of things,

Check your contract of employment, any policies in place should have been communicated to you at the start of your employment.

Any policies put in place or change of contract after you started must be communicated to you within a set notice period and most companies will hold a copy in your personel file which should have been signed by you.

Secondly talk to your GP and / or Consultant for a letter detailing the duties you can perform safely.

Normally employers are cancer treatment friendly, mine were and still are 7 years down the line with another employee undergoing neck cancer treatment.

Has anyone else had a problem like this, what was the outcome?

And it would be good to find out exactly how everyone stands legally in this situation.

Best of luck and best wishes,

Dave C

Let us know how it pans out.


thanks Dave i will let you know


Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer is protected by the disability at work act.


I hope this link helps to give you some information.


Sorry, not offering any advice here but I think that's terrible!

I've just returned to work part time after treatment and operation etc and my work have been fantastic and yours should be too especially after everything you've been through, they don't need to be putting that kind of stress on you!!

I'd be tempted to ask you if you want to work for a company like that but I know that you don't often have that luxury.


Short answer no they cannot sack you - as Tees said - you are now protected from such disgraceful behaviour by dint of the fact cancer is a disability and as such you are protected from discrimination because of it - I am not even sure they can insist you do full time in such a short space of time. My husband went back to work 12 months after surgery - starting at just two days a week with plenty of time to rest should he need it - and he did - sadly his cancer recurred two months after going back and he took the difficult decision to take early retirement on medical grounds but during the whole process his employers were brilliant - to be fair he worked for the NHS and if they werent it would have been a pretty poor show. Hope you are able to get some answers and that your employers are perhaps a little more understanding than they would appear to have been thus far.



Try using the Employers Notes that you can find here: opa.org.uk/regional-shop/lo... If there is something that does not cater for your situation, let me know because we have revised the document fairly regularly in the past.

It does take a surprisingly long time to recover your full strength and stamina, and medically speaking, it will not do you any good to push yourself harder than your body feels comfortable with. A lot of people do eventually find that they have to change their jobs because of this, and I would guess that it is the exception rather than the rule that people do recover their stamina levels that they had before their treatment.

I think that what you are facing is an employer who does not (wish to?) understand that your recovery will be much longer than is normal for recovery from most illnesses. At work, people tend to be a bit black and white ie you are either back and fit, or not and therefore should be sick. So the chances are that their HR policies do not adequately fit your situation, and you may have to opt in to some form of temporary disability category or restricted capacity that should be reviewed after, say, you have been back at work for 12 months.


The Macmillan web site sounds the best way to go they will be able to help and give you good advise. It is discusting you are being treated that like all you have been through and getting yourself back to work so quick. Hope you get it sorted soon and wish you best of luck!


thank you all...think my manager is worried as yesterday she sent me offsite with students who all have a learning disability and when i tried to pull myself up onto the minibus (step was high) i hurt myself on my right side around where i had the op so i have stayed off work today but i am ok



I am feeling really angry the way you have been treated, how awful, please get advice, I would not have thought you should have been back at work, I would not have been able to do it, can you not get a dr.'s note..your health is more important, please don't risk damaging yourself during this time when you should be healing. Good luck and look after yourself.


Good answers above but the simple answer is no they cant.They could retire you on health grounds which would involve a lump sum? You need legal advice.Are you in a union.If not citizens advice or the like


Hi Marg. I wonder if your employer really knows how badly they are treating you. They are public body and should be clued up and compassionate on such things. They are not a small employer who may be ignorant. I also think that the particular nature of our long term recovery is not appreciated generally. I would certainly seek advice from CAB although I have no experience of their ability/clout in these days of cuts and eroded employment rights.

Have you considered raising the issue with the principal at the college? I'm sure they wouldn't like it if you reported it to the papers but I doubt if you want the publicity.

I obtained a letter from my oncologist setting out my condition in detail and stating that I would need a phased return to work which has helped sort out my employment and insurance issues. Hope this helps.

Best wishes



thank you all for your replies i will certainly loo into it with my union rep. i was told today that the 4 week policy the college has that i need to be back full time within the 4 weeks does not exist and i believe i have been bullied back into work too soon



From what you say your employer is clearly guilty of discrimination and that is an offense under existing legislation.

You must be careful not to do anything which would weaken your position.For this reason you need properly qualified advice as to how to proceed.

Your Union should provide advice and hopefully access to a solicitor at no cost.

Alternatively here is a web site listing many sources of free advice -- many solicitors will give you one hour of basic advice free.


Do let us know how you get on.


thank you so much

i have been informed today that i have a meeting with my manager and with HR on Wednesday regarding "some concerns" they have will keep you informed




Whatever happened?


Hi Andrew

work are saying that they are to have a managers meeting to work out what percentage of my job role i can do, its because i've been told i cannot do any manual handling for 3 years. I have been told that they could retire me on ill health if they cannot find me an alternative job role. I cannot afford to finish as i still have a mortgage and there is little hope of them finding me another job. So I'm waiting to see what they say,



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