Can My Boss Fire Me Because of Hepatitis C?
Last updated: July 2021
Thinking about how to keep my job made me anxious when I was diagnosed. I wanted to get good insurance to help me pay for treatment. When I actually went in for the interview, there was never any reason to talk about my hepatitis C treatment. What a relief. I was doing ok, at least outwardly, and could physically do the job. I just wondered if my boss could fire me with hep C.
With hep C and/or on treatment, we can look like we’re doing fine. Nobody has to know about it unless we can’t do the job physically. I am a teacher, and was fully ready to teach every day. Think about what your job will require you to do. Also consider how healthy your liver is. If you’re sick, and the job involves physical labor such as lifting or climbing, it might not be as easy. A medical provider can provide guidance for you about that.
Starting treatment now
This may sound radical for someone that doesn’t understand, but hepatitis C can cause cirrhosis of the liver. That’s what I had. So I was eager to get started on treatment as soon as possible. Keeping my job was everything to my future at the time. By getting some help from family and friends, I was able to get prepared to work full time while treating. I figured that having support, eating well, and resting while on treatment might keep my boss from firing me with hep C.
Side effects of treatment
Possible side effects of hep C treatment include:
Some people might have nausea or queasy stomach, and I did. That’s where having the right snacks handy helped me. I always ate liver friendly meals at home. Packing my lunch for work made it easy for me to stay strong on treatment.
I planned on taking naps while the drugs kicked hep C. My family and friends all knew that I probably wouldn’t be going out after work. I took it easy on weekends too. I asked for extra help with groceries and cooking when I was tired. It was important to get the extra rest for a few weeks.
Fever or Chills
Sometimes I ran a low grade fever. During those times, my doctor advised me about what fever reducer to take. I never needed a day off, but made sure that I napped a lot. I also laid around on weekends if I had a light fever.
This is a side effect that I never had. Again, your medical provider can offer you some options to reduce the occasional headache.
I didn’t take any sick days because of hep C treatment, but I knew my HR person could help me with FMLA if I needed it. By taking good care of myself, there was no reason for anyone to ever know I was even on treatment. I needed the income and didn’t want my boss to fire me, so I was on time, and fully prepared every day.
There was not a legal reason for me to be fired for having hep C as along as I could do my job. I worked extra hard to keep my job while I was on treatment. Chances are, you can too.