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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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My daughter works for a relative, who has a business, she is

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My daughter works for a relative, who has a business, she is his office manager. She has worked for him for many years. Last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She just underwent surgery and has been told she is required to do four months of intense chemotherapy.
Her boss has told her that if she does the chemotherapy, she will lose her position. I am sure he will find some way to describe it as a "performance issue" and will be careful to avoid stating that the reason is because of the chemotherapy, but none-the-less, that will be the reason.
She has been through hell already and now has to face this. In fact, the boss's wife has been the one accompanying her to her oncology appointments throughout her treatment!!
Can my daughter's employer legally do this?
What kind of legal redress does my daughter have?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How long has she worked there for?

Hi there, she will have certain rights under disability discrimination laws. As she has been diagnosed with cancer she will automatically be classified as being disabled under employment law.

If a person is classified as being disabled they will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.

What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples:
• making adjustments to work premises;
• allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;
• transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;
• altering the employee’s hours of work;
• allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;
• acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;
• providing supervision or other support.

If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination should be made in an employment tribunal (the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory act taking place).

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps she needs to follow if she is to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. Whether she resigns and claims constructive dismissal or remains there and claims for discrimination, she will need to go through early conciliation.

This is because a new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.

If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.

The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:

In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,Thank you so much for the advice. My daughter has worked for her Mum's ex-husband for at least ten years to my knowledge. She holds a position of great trust and responsibility there. It is a small firm. As I now live in California, it is difficult to get direct conversations going with her, a solicitor/barrister and to also find out exactly what is occurring. All I know is that now she has communicated that she is required to do four months of chemo, she has been advised that she may be dismissed because of it. I have done a little research of my own and I have seen many cases where the employer has been able to twist things to make it appear that the reasons for dismissal have absolutely nothing to do with an illness or a disability, and my concern is that my daughter's employer may do just that.
As I am in California, please note there is an eight hour time difference between us and you will experience delays between your questions and my responses.Thank youEan Corbet
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,It is currently 10:22am here in California and I believe it is 6:22pm there in the UK?

Hi there yes it is 18:26 now here. Whilst it is possible to try and claim that a dismissal has nothing to do with a disability, evidence will be required and if they are going for poor performance it should not be linked to her absences, such as lower performance for not being there. Also poor performance rarely justifies an instant dismissal - they would need to go through a fair procedure, identify areas needing improvement, provide targets, monitor performance, issue warnings etc - it is not a quick process so she should have time to gather evidence to counter any such allegations of poor performances especially i they are unjustified

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Ben, you have been really helpful

you are most welcome