In October 2009, I had a left breast mastectomy with reconstruction and had no chance to fight cancer because I was too busy fighting to keep my job. When you are at your most vulnerable, documented workplace intimidation and retaliation are another aspect of surviving cancer.
Noticeable changes took place after notifying upper management of my breast cancer. Documented bullying, being scheduled 10 days in a row, intimidation and retaliation have been constant. Keeping my Supervisor wage and position at the end of my recovery was my concern, not surviving cancer.
Following 9 1/2 weeks of FMLA, I returned to work with no accrued vacation or sick leave. Cancer is expensive. There was no short or long term disability available for me and I did not qualify for assistance. I had worked five jobs for five years in order to build my savings. I had to use a substantial part of this to pay for out of pocket co-pays for all my medical, hospital, chemo and radiation treatment expenses, in addition to the everyday bills such as food and utilities.
When I returned to work, additional duties were being required of my position; supervising 5-6 more drivers and maintaining five shuttle vans. Because my employer was increasing duties of my job and not increasing compensation, I took a constructive demotion rather than be taken advantage of at a time when I was most vulnerable.