Can you fire an employee who is diagnosed with cancer? The EEOC filed a lawsuit against a Detroit-based for-profit alternative school because it unlawfully discharged a school social worker diagnosed with breast cancer because it regarded her as disabled, even though she had a solid work record with the company. The school will pay $47,500 to settle the disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC. The social worker was hired for the 2006-2007 school year. In April 2007, she informed her employer that she had been diagnosed with stage-zero breast cancer. In response, her supervisor prepared an e-mail for her chief of staff which gave details about the social worker’s cancer and recommended that another school social worker be hired for the following academic year. She was let her go at the end of the 2006-2007 school year and was the only school social worker who was not retained.
The EEOC said this action violates the ADA. Remember: employers cannot make employment decisions based on fears and stereotypes about people with cancer.