Your company is not required by law to make accommodations for employees impacted by cancer. Neither the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nor the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to companies with less than 15 employees. Nonetheless, you may wish to help the employee continue working as doing so can benefit everyone. Implementing Workplace Transitions in a company your size is typically done on a case-by-case or as-needed basis by the manager or owner. You may wish to do the following:
- Have a meeting with company stakeholders. Feel free to use or adapt this presentation on the challenges and benefits of managing cancer in the workplace.
- Understand the law, particularly with regard to privacy and your obligation to keep an employee's health information confidential.
- Review the section on possible accommodations and discuss which ones may be feasible for your size and type of business.
- Designate a point person for creating a Transition Plan for the impacted employee, and another for working a main point of contact for job-related matters.
- Schedule regular meetings with the employee to reassess the Transition Plan.
Large companies are required to comply with ADA and make reasonable accommodations for employees that disclose their diagnosis or health issue. You’re also required to abide by the FMLA. Your company almost certainly has HR staff for dealing with employement-related matters. It may also have a Disabilities Group, a Benefits Group, and/or Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). If you are interested in implementing Workplace Transitions, we recommend the following.
- Speak to an HR representative or company executive who can help you identify key stakeholders and allies at your company.
- Familiarize yourself with any current policies covering employees impacted by cancer.
- Prepare yourself to champion a program for supporting employees touched by cancer by reviewing the attached presentation.
- Set-up a meeting with HR staff, key managers and other stakeholders to discuss the importance of having a program and policy in place. Feel free to use or adapt this presentation on the challenges and benefits of managing cancer in the workplace.
- Establish a small working group committed to implementing support for employees impacted by cancer. This groups should be prepared to build manager awareness of the challenges and available resources, developing standard protocols for documenting and tracking Transition Plans, etc.