Carolynn Mascareñas

Carolynn M I am a cancer survivor!

I have always worked hard for an equal chance to advance and having a fair shot with safe and decent working conditions. In October, 2009 I had a left breast mastectomy with reconstruction and had little chance to fight cancer because I was too busy fighting to keep my job. When you are at your most vulnerable state documented workplace intimidation and retaliation are another aspect of surviving cancer.

Cancer is expensive! Not just from a financial point of view, but also from the emotional and physical toll that results. I took 9 ½ weeks of FMLA during which I also used all of my accrued paid time off, which was only three weeks. There was not short term or long term disability available for me, and I could not afford to take any more unpaid time off. Because I did all the right things, always paid my bills on time, built up an emergency savings fund, and maintained an excellent credit rating, I did not qualify for any assistance.

My work position is a relatively low paying one, with a substantial part of my income coming from tips. Noticeable changes took place after notifying upper management of my breast cancer, documented bullying, being scheduled to work 10 days in a row, intimidation and retaliation have been constant. 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 had to take a constructive demotion.

Having a job at the end of my recovery, my position as a Transportation Supervisor, were my concerns, not surviving cancer.                

I am a sole provider with a home mortgage and all the normal household and personal expenses. I have worked multiple jobs for five years in order to build my savings. All of my savings were used to pay for out of pocket co-pays covering all of my medical, hospital, chemo and radiation bills. As a result, I am unable to have some badly needed major repairs completed on my 31 year old house.

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