RoseMarie Loft, an HR consultant in the UK, has commented on our post which disclosed the results of a survey in the UK which found that 37% of cancer patients have experienced some sort of discrimination.
“I find this quite difficult to accept at face value, based on experience. Perhaps, as it’s an on-line questionnaire, we are really saying that 37 per cent of those that felt strongly enough to log in and answer the questionnaire felt this way. I’m not suggesting that those affected were being untruthful nor suggesting that their feelings are invalid. However, in all of the organisations I’ve worked in – and it’s a fair few across a number of sectors in senior interim roles – I’ve yet to come across a single one that doesn’t suspend all normal sickness management processes, make accommodation for additional sick pay (I’ve often authorised extended sick pay through to end of life, and rightly so in my view), provide flexible working through treatment if the employee wishes to work, make home visits and so on. That’s not to say that there can’t be some dreadful ones out there.
But I have experienced a good few colleagues that find it difficult to deal with serious illness on a personal level, especially when the illness is terminal. This can often make them distant and appear uncaring. It’s also been my experience that when someone suddenly becomes ill with a potentially life-threatening illness, then they can lose trust of those around them. The skill for the HR person is trying to bridge that gap.”