Federica met the Program Work is Progress through her participation in a legal webinar on the protection of workers with disabilities in the Covid context.
After that, within an interview with the Program’s counsellor and legal advisor she shared with them her problems, which originates from her disease, but were heavily affecting her professional situation.
The woman has been working for 20 years as a saleswoman in a department store. After years of working as a salesclerk with excellent results, she was promoted to a coordinating role, without having the recognition of the higher classification level.
After several months and during the pandemic period, she was relocated in the sales department, without any explanation and without any consideration for the risks that she may running as a cancer patient in a work context in direct contact with the public.
Federica, who had been diagnosed with cancer a few years earlier and was undergoing treatment to prevent possible recurrences (a rather heavy treatment that has also caused her a thrombus), found this job too tiring for her physical conditions, and dangerous in relation to the possibility of being infected by Covid. She was increasingly anxious about the work environment and asked for support in managing her relationship with her employer.
The lawyer encouraged her to ask for smart working but, despite the legitimacy of her request, the company refused. Federica was then affected by covid, obviously attributing the incident to her work in direct contact with the public. During quarantine, she shared with us all her fury and frustration at the lack of consideration that the company had for her condition, the concern for her own health and the health of her family. Finally, she collapsed in a desperate cry, declaring being very distressed by the events and no longer able to cope with them, despite she considered herself once “a strong woman”.
declaring being very distressed by the events and no longer able to cope with them, despite she considered herself once “a strong woman”. At the same time, the lawyer helped her to protect her rights, providing her with the legal references referred to her rights to obtain the smart working, as well as supported in the communication and mediation with the company, avoiding to permanently compromise the relationship.
The joint interventions, psychological and legal, helped Federica to recover balance and calmness, dealing more effectively with the critical situations she was facing (cancer pathology, covid infection, fear of contagion of loved ones, fatigue, and work claims). Today we can say that Federica has regained serenity and well-being, and this greatly helped her to keep her job.