Today’s employment report from the U.S. Labor Department showed the job market remained tough in January. If it’s difficult for healthy individuals to get a job, what is it like for cancer survivors?
Personally, I’m not looking for a job. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer about a year ago, my editors and I came up with the idea that I should write a blog about all aspects of cancer.
I had not focused on what it would be like conducting a job search with cancer as my co-pilot until I read a recent LinkedIn post: “If you think it is tough finding work for the average Joe, imagine what it is like for the cancer survivor. How do you explain the gap in your resume? You lie of course.”
Cancer survivors are supposed to be legally protected by state and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Prospective employers cannot ask about a job candidate’s health, So in theory, cancer survivors should not have a problem, but some say there’s an underlying bias against them. It’s not hard to see why. The employer might wonder whether the cancer survivor will take too much time off work for doctor’s appointments, or a lingering setback that might cause more severe job performance problems.
No one who took part in the subsequent online LinkedIn discussion was of the opinion that lying was the best policy. Rather, some commented it might work to an applicant’s benefit to be open about their cancer.