doctor telling patient diagnoses (l) office worker holding belongings in cardboard box (c) couple holding hands (r)

Chinnapong/Shutterstock fizkes/Shutterstock fizkes/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I am in shock’: Cancer patient says his wife was suddenly fired—and her job knew about his illness

‘at least she’ll accompany me to the hospital a bit more in the meantime.’


Phil West


A person reportedly fighting cancer is angered that his wife has just been fired even though her employer knew about their situation.

The story comes from redditor Dimitri_Mpkstroff, writing in the r/antiwork subreddit, designated “for those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, want to get the most out of a work-free life, want more information on anti-work ideas and want personal help with their own jobs/work-related struggles.”

“I am in shock,” his story begins. “Life has been tough already with my sickness and together with chemo, I am unable to work, but we still get help [from] my insurance. But my wife really needed this, and suddenly the company decided they did not need a designer anymore and fired her knowing her personal situation.”

He continued, “F*ck companies that think of you as a number and not a human being, hope they burn to ashes and can never recover financially. Hope she finds something soon but the market is [tough], at least she’ll accompany me to the hospital a bit more in the meantime, after everything she is just an amazing person. Hopefully a company will see that soon.”

“But yeah,” he remarked, “fk these soulless companies.”

He went on to specific in an addendum that his wife was actually laid off and not fired, adding that to an issue in his translating his complaint into English. He also noted that she works in a small office where people know each other, and in his words, “they have all the rights to do it but the way to do it was awful , at least let her know with time, talk to her first.”

Commenters had thoughts.

They just fired my wife after knowing I have cancer
by u/Dimitri_Mpkstroff in antiwork

One advised, “If you think that your diagnosis may have impacted the company’s decision, file an ADA complaint with the EEOC. The ADA prevents discrimination based on the disability or perceived disability of an employee or someone they would be a caregiver for (generally spouse/child, I can’t remember if it extends to parents). Cancer is a disability under the ADA. So, if prior to her being let go, anyone said something about your wife taking a lot of time off to care for you, or how their insurance rates could be affected by the cost of your treatments, file!”

Per the American Cancer Society’s ADA info page: “People with cancer can have long-term disabilities that make it hard to work or get around. The ADA is intended to make it possible for people who can do the essential parts of their job to go back to work or keep working during and after cancer treatment. Even when a person with cancer doesn’t have a disability, they may be thought of as being disabled. This alone can set the stage for discrimination at work, and the ADA addresses this as well.”

But as the cancer organization notes, it’s complicated: “According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), cancer is not always considered a disability. The ADA can help protect you when cancer prevents or makes it very hard for you to do everyday tasks such as household chores, bathing, and brushing your teeth. But this kind of disability must be permanent or long-term. And, the ADA protects you if you had cancer in the past, but are doing well now.”

Another redditor shared, “Two years ago my boss told me to resign when I asked for reasonable accommodations (Friday afternoon off for chemotherapy and WFH (this was right after six months of WFH due to Covid in my country)). Let’s just say I lawyered up and it became very expensive for them. Hoping the same for you and your wife!”

Someone else shared a related horror story, starting, “I had no idea cancer was covered under the ADA! This is a big help to me and my wife. She has stage 4 breast cancer (not the terminal kind but the kind where it can never be cured and it’s microscopic throughout her whole body. As long as it doesn’t metastasize, she’s fine.)”

He continued, “We just found out her old employer canceled her insurance two months before she left the company. We don’t know if it was a mistake or malicious, but based on my wife’s interaction with her boss, I’m guessing malicious. The reason we just found out is because billing usually lags behind. So now, her secondary insurance is refusing to pay for anything until the other insurance situation is figured out. She’s almost out of meds and has a PET scan scheduled for next week. There is no way we could pay for those things out of pocket and it’s a time-sensitive situation.”

They’re also advising lawyering up, noting, “We’ve already talked to one of my friends who’s an attorney and he directed us to another attorney who does labor law. She’s contacting him today so we can move forward. Hopefully this gets resolved quickly.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to the creator via Reddit DM.

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